Introduction Ultrasound is an essential part of obstetric care and should not be limited to hospital use. The introduction of a portable device could enable community midwives to take ultrasound to the patient, in the first instance to confirm presentation. Scanning in the community clinics would help women in remote areas by saving long journeys to hospital. It would also provide confidence by confirming cephalic presentation in planned home/community deliveries. It might also reduce the workload of the hospital ultrasound department.
Methods A pilot study was carried out with a selected community midwifery team of eight midwives. They were all provided with basic ultrasound teaching including specific training on the Siemens P10. This device was used in community practice for 2 months to look for presentation in the third trimester. Each midwife then completed a questionnaire assessing their experience of the use of this device and their views on its role in everyday practice.
Results All the midwives felt happy to use this device and were confident that it would reduce the number of patients referred for presentation scans. All would recommend it to colleagues. More time was needed to develop full competence and confidence.
Conclusion Ultrasound performed by midwives has a role in the community. A larger study is required to show the effect that providing this service would have on reducing hospital referrals and reducing the incidence of undiagnosed breeches at term.
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