Management of Occiput Posterior Position in the Second Stage of Labor: A Survey of Midwifery Practice in Australia
The management of the occiput posterior (OP) position has been controversial for many years. Manual rotation can be performed by midwives and could reduce cesarean sections and instrumental births. We aimed to determine current midwifery views, knowledge, and practice of manual rotation.
A de-identified, self-reported questionnaire was e-mailed to all Australian College of Midwives full members (n = 3,997).
Of 3,182 surveyed, 57 percent (1,817) responded, of whom 51 percent (920) were currently practicing midwifery. Seventy-seven percent of midwives thought that manual rotation at full dilatation was a valid intervention. Sixty-four percent stated the procedure was acceptable before instrumental delivery, but 30 percent were unsure. Most practicing midwives (93%) had heard of manual rotation, but only 18 percent had performed one in the last year. Midwives would support the routine performance of manual rotation for OP position if it reduced operative births from 68 to 50 percent and would support manual rotation for occiput transverse (OT) position if it reduced operative births from 39 to 25 percent.
This study indicates that manual rotation is considered acceptable by most midwives in Australia, yet is only performed by a minority. Midwives would be willing to perform prophylactic manual rotation if it was known to facilitate normal vaginal births suggesting a scope to introduce this procedure into widespread clinical practice.