OBJECTIVE: To determine the feasibility for midwives to adhere to Dutch national guidelines on threatened miscarriage in general practice. DESIGN: Prospective recording of appointments by midwives who agreed to adhere to the guidelines on threatened miscarriage. Interviews with the midwives after they had recorded appointments for one year. SETTING: Midwifery practices in The Netherlands. SUBJECTS: 56 midwives who agreed to adhere to the guidelines; 43 midwives actually made records from 156 clients during a period of 12 months. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Adherence to each recommendation and reasons for non-adherence. RESULTS: The recommendation that a physical examination should take place on the first and also on the follow up appointment was not always adhered to. Reasons for non-adherence were the midwives' criticism of this recommendation, their lack of knowledge or skills, and the specific client situation. Adherence to a follow up appointment after 10 days, a counselling consultation after six weeks, and not performing an ultrasound scan was low. Reasons for non-adherence were mainly based on the midwives' criticism of these recommendations and reluctance on the part of the client. Furthermore, many midwives did not give information and instructions to the client. It is noteworthy that in 13% of the cases the midwife's policy was overridden by the obstetrician taking control of the situation after the midwife had requested an ultrasound scan. CONCLUSIONS: Those recommendations in the guidelines on threatened miscarriage that are most often not adhered to should be reviewed. To reduce conflicts about ultrasound scans and referrals, agreement on the policy on threatened miscarriage should be mutually established between midwives and obstetricians.
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