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Glossary of Terms

Natural childbirth

Natural childbirth is birthing without any form of intervention.

Normal childbirth

Normal childbirth is the care provided during childbirth to achieve a healthy mother and child with the least possible level of intervention compatible with safety. This approach implies that there should be a valid reason to interfere with the natural process of labour.

Caesarean section

A caesarean section is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through an incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus. A caesarean section might be planned ahead of time if pregnancy complications develop or a woman had a previous caesarean section and is not considering vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC). The need for a first-time caesarean section often does not become obvious until a woman is in labour.

A caesarean section may save the lives of the mother and infant and reduce morbidity (injury or illness). The operation is performed for several indications such as foetal distress, multiple pregnancy, prematurity, malposition of the foetus, problems with the placenta, a previous caesarean section or on maternal request due to fear of childbirth.

Evidence-based nursing

Evidence-based nursing is the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of theory derived, research based information to make decisions about care delivery systems and consumer needs and preferences.


A nurse or midwife specialist is a professional person who has been prepared beyond the level of a generalist and is authorised to practise as a specialist in a field of nursing or midwifery.

International Council of Nurses

Advanced Nurse/Midwife

“An advanced nurse/midwife practitioner is a registered nurse/midwife clinician with a Masters degree in nursing or midwifery, who has acquired the expert clinical competence that includes complex decision-making skills and clinical competencies for expanded practice and is currently in practice in the field.

An Advanced Nurse or Midwife Practitioner is specialist clinician with a broad clinical, autonomous practice and include case loading with the right to prescribe within the specialty area. This nurse/midwife practitioner may function as first entry point and needs to be able to make a “medical diagnosis” in the particular field. This may require the need for diagnostic test and treatment beyond the normal practice of the nurse/midwife. In South Africa this nurse may practice as a private practitioner.”

  • FUNDISA Position paper on specialist/advanced nursing and midwifery practice.


Performance stress

Performance stress is a problematic factor which increases psychological arousal, causing difficulty with the birthing process. Performance stress occurs when a mother feels pressured to give birth, because of supportive friends and family waiting for her. We therefore allow a maximum of  2 people to be with you as a mother during the birthing process. This person/s should be someone close to you, such as your partner, mother or sister. Friends and family will be shown away to protect you as a mother while you are giving birth, but are more than welcome to come and show their support once your baby is born.

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