Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science (Hons.)


School of Nursing


Western Australian College of Advanced Education

First Advisor

Anne McMurray


This study focused on the assessment of blood loss during childbirth by attending midwives. It is very important that the volume of blood loss during childbirth be reported with accuracy. However, it is traditionally accepted that the most commonly used method of estimating blood loss is' inaccurate, This study attempted to determine the accuracy of the attending midwives' visual estimation of blood loss, during vaginal delivery, by measuring all blood loss with electronic weighing scales and comparing it to their visually estimated figures. One hundred and seven women, booked for confinement at a large metropolitan hospital, were selected for the study during their labour. Related samples t tests and Pearson's product moment correlation coefficients compared the actual measured blood loss, and the attending midwives' estimated blood loss. Significant differences were found, supporting the hypotheses at the 0.05 level of significance, that subjective visual estimation of blood loss during childbirth remains an inaccurate method. Both under and over estimation occurred regardless of the midwives' years of experience or education. The findings from this study imply that midwives should adopt more reliable methods of measuring blood loss. Furthermore, midwifery curricula should incorporate a component which prepares midwives for precise and accurate estimation of blood loss during childbirth.