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Keywords:

  • Normal birth;
  • Normalcy;
  • Optimality;
  • Outcome models;
  • Perinatal health

This analysis was conducted to describe the concept of optimality and its appropriateness for perinatal health care. The concept was identified in 24 scientific disciplines. Across all disciplines, the universal definition of optimality is the robust, efficient, and cost-effective achievement of best possible outcomes within a rule-governed framework. Optimality, specifically defined for perinatal health care, is the maximal perinatal outcome with minimal intervention placed against the context of the woman’s social, medical, and obstetric history. JOGNN, 35, 763-769; 2006. DOI: 10.1111/J.1552-6909.2006.00104.x