Myths and realities of training in obstetric emergencies

Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2015 Nov;29(8):1067-76. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2015.07.003. Epub 2015 Jul 17.


Training for intrapartum emergencies is a promising strategy to reduce preventable harm during birth; however, not all training is clinically effective. Many myths have developed around such training. These principally derive from misinformed beliefs that all training must be effective, cheap, independent of context and sustainable. The current evidence base for effective training supports local, unit-based and multi-professional training, with appropriate mannequins, and practice-based tools to support the best care. Training programmes based on these principles are associated with improved clinical outcomes, but we need to understand how and why that is, and also why some training is associated with no improvements, or even deterioration in outcomes. Effective training is not cheap, but it can be cost-effective. Insurers have the fiscal power to incentivise training, but they should demand the evidence of clinical effect; aspiration and proxies alone should no longer be sufficient for funding, in any resource setting.

Keywords: effective training; implementation; multi-professional; obstetric emergencies; simulation; teamworking.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery, Obstetric / education*
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Group Processes
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / economics
  • Inservice Training / methods*
  • Inservice Training / standards
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Manikins
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Program Evaluation
  • Simulation Training