Publications by authors named "Gemma McKenzie"

3 Publications

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Undisturbed Physiological Birth: Insights from Women Who Freebirth in the United Kingdom.

Midwifery 2021 May 20;101:103042. Epub 2021 May 20.

King's College London, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care, James Clerk Maxwell Building, 57 Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8WA, UK.

Objective: To understand women's experiences of undisturbed physiological birth by exploring the narratives of women who have freebirthed their babies in the United Kingdom (intentionally giving birth without midwives or doctors present).

Design: Unstructured narrative face-to-face interviews were carried out and data were analysed using the Voice Centred Relational Method (VCRM).

Participants: Sixteen women who had freebirthed their babies.

Findings: Women discussed a range of phenomena including birth positions, the fetus ejection reflex, pain, altered states of consciousness, physiological third stages and postnatal experiences that were physically and emotionally positive.

Key Conclusions: There is a paucity of literature on physiological birth and limited opportunity for practitioners to witness it. Further research is required on phenomena related to physiological birth so as to better understand how to promote it within the maternity setting and when intervention is justified.

Implications For Practice: Standard maternity settings and practice may not be conducive to or reflective of physiological birth. Better understanding of physiological birth is required so that pregnant women and people can be appropriately supported during labour and birth.
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May 2021

Exploring the conceptualisation and study of freebirthing as a historical and social phenomenon: a meta-narrative review of diverse research traditions.

Med Humanit 2020 Dec 2;46(4):512-524. Epub 2020 May 2.

Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care, King's College London, London, UK.

Freebirthing is a clandestine practice whereby women intentionally give birth without healthcare professionals (HCPs) present in countries where there are medical facilities available to assist them. Women who make this decision are frequently subjected to stigma and condemnation, yet research on the phenomenon suggests that women's motivations are often complex. The aim of this review was to explore how freebirth has been conceptualised over time in the English-language academic and grey literature. The meta-narrative methodology employed enables a phenomenon to be understood within and between differing research traditions, as well as against its social and historical context. Our research uncovered nine research traditions (nursing, autobiographical text with birthing philosophy, midwifery, activism, medicine, sociology, law and ethics, pregnancy and birth advice, and anthropology) originating from eight countries and spanning the years 1957-2018. Most of the texts were written by women, with the majority being non-empirical. Empirical studies on freebirth were usually qualitative, although there were a small number of quantitative medical and midwifery studies; these texts often focused on women's motivations and highlighted a range of reasons as to why a woman would decide to give birth without HCPs present. Motivations frequently related to women's previous negative maternity experiences and the type of maternity care available, for example medicalised and hospital-based. The use of the meta-narrative methodology allowed the origins of freebirth in 1950s America to be traced to present-day empirical studies of the phenomenon. This highlighted how the subject and the publication of literature relating to freebirth are embedded within their social and historical contexts. From its very inception, freebirth aligns with the medicalisation of childbirth, the position of women in society, the provision of maternity care and the way in which women experience maternity services.
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December 2020

Re: Induction of labour should be offered to all women at term: FOR: Induction of labour should be offered at term: A dangerous position to advocate.

Gemma McKenzie

BJOG 2020 03 29;127(4):521-522. Epub 2019 Dec 29.

Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care, King's College London, London, UK.

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March 2020