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Routine examination of the newborn and maternal satisfaction: a randomised controlled trial
  1. D Wolke1,
  2. S Dave2,
  3. J Hayes2,
  4. J Townsend2,
  5. M Tomlin3
  1. 1Department of Psychology, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts, UK
  2. 2Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care, University of Hertfordshire
  3. 3Department of Midwifery and Child, University of Hertfordshire
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor Wolke, Department of Psychology, University of Hertfordshire, DWRU, College Lane, GB-Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AB, UK;


Objective: To determine whether the routine examination of the newborn by a midwife compared with a junior paediatrician (SHO) affects maternal satisfaction with this examination.

Methods: Randomised controlled trial: 826 mother and baby pairs in a district general hospital in south east England were randomised to a paediatric SHO or a midwife for the routine newborn examination. Maternal satisfaction with the examination was analysed in relation to intervention group, process, and background variables.

Results: Some 81% of mothers reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the newborn examination. Mothers assigned to a midwife were more satisfied with the newborn examination (crude odds ratio (OR) 0.54 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.39 to 0.75), p < 0.001). However, after provision of health education during the examination, continuity of care provided, and history of miscarriage had been controlled for, status of examiner was no longer related to maternal satisfaction (adjusted OR 0.82 (95% CI 0.57–1.20), NS). The discussion of healthcare issues by the examiner (adjusted OR 0.49 (95% CI 0.34 to 0.70), p < 0.001) and continuity of care (adjusted OR 0.43 (95% CI 0.23 to 0.81), p < 0.01) were both related to enhanced satisfaction, and history of miscarriage (adjusted OR 1.61 (1.08 to 2.40), p < 0.05) was associated with lower maternal satisfaction with the newborn examination. Midwives (61%) were more likely than SHOs (33%) to discuss healthcare issues, such as feeding, sleeping, and skin care.

Conclusions: Mothers were more likely to be satisfied with the newborn examination by a midwife than an SHO because midwives were more likely to discuss healthcare issues during the examination and were able to provide continuity of care. However, midwife examinations according to exclusion criteria agreed with trial midwives excluded half of all newborns, and criteria may have to be reconsidered for practice implementation.

  • examination
  • midwife
  • senior house officer (SHO)
  • maternal satisfaction
  • miscarriage

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