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Keywords:

  • concept analysis;
  • normal;
  • labour;
  • ‘normal labour’ birth;
  • movement;
  • midwives;
  • birth positions;
  • midwifery;
  • obstetrics;
  • medicalization;
  • technology;
  • obstetrics;
  • medicalization;
  • technology

Normal labour: a concept analysis

Midwives practice within the normal childbirth paradigm. It is argued that midwives failure to define normality has allowed increasing technicalization and medicalization of the normal physiological process of birth because doctors so closely define abnormality. A concept analysis model is used to clarify what is meant by the term ‘normal labour’; the emphasis being on understanding what normal labour is as it applies to midwifery practice today. This analysis highlights the importance of movement and the sequential nature of normal labour, and reveals how this is implicit within the other uses of both the words normal and labour. The final definition of normal labour offered is intended to be complimentary to existing medical determinants of progress of normal labour, because as the body of the text stresses, medical knowledge is fundamentally enmeshed in midwifery care.