Location of Repository

Woman centred care? An exploration of professional\ud care in midwifery practice

By Mari Phillips


This thesis explores what ‘woman centred care’ means to both women and\ud midwives and how this care is offered by midwives and perceived by women. It is\ud set within the context of current health care policy and the way in which this\ud impacts on both the organisation and implementation of maternity care.\ud \ud \ud A flexible qualitative design was used to explore both women’s and midwives’\ud experiences of current maternity care over the full trajectory of maternity\ud provision. A modified grounded theory approach was used framed within a\ud feminist perspective. The fieldwork was undertaken in two phases. In phase one\ud and interviews were undertaken with twelve women in early pregnancy, later\ud pregnancy and after the birth; a total of twenty-five interviews with women were\ud completed. Nine midwives were also interviewed in phase one. Preliminary and\ud tentative categories were identified from both sets of interviews and were used to\ud inform phase two of the study.\ud \ud \ud Five women participated in the second phase of data collection. This included\ud both informal, telephone contact and in-depth interviews spanning from early\ud pregnancy until after the birth and included observation of their care in labour.\ud The community midwives and delivery suite midwives specifically involved in\ud their care were also interviewed.\ud \ud \ud The data demonstrated a continued mismatch between the women’s and the\ud midwives’ perspectives and it was evident that despite the policy drivers and\ud consumerist rhetoric of ‘woman centred care’ and its original underpinning\ud principles of continuity, choice and control, that this was not the overriding\ud experience for the women who participated in the study. Data analysis\ud highlighted some opportunities for negotiation but these were not explicitly\ud recognised or realised by the women or midwives and there was little time or\ud flexibility in the system to accommodate such opportunities.\ud \ud \ud The increasing bureaucracy of the maternity care system also constrains continuity\ud of carer over the full spectrum of the childbearing trajectory and reduces the\ud potential for women to know the midwife who provided care. Thus for many\ud midwives being ‘with the institution’ was more likely than ‘being ‘with woman’

Topics: RT, RJ
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:5764

Suggested articles



  1. Are there issues of obstetric consultants being male or female?
  2. Are there special skills the hospital setting?
  3. Did you discuss your home birth with GP?
  4. Do you think there’s anything that women bring that men can’t?
  5. ever thought about it? doi
  6. Finally do you feel the care has been centred around you?
  7. How do women perceive these midwives? doi
  8. Is there anything else you want to tell me? doi
  9. see any difference between the midwife’s role in the community and in hospital, seeing as you’ve moved?
  10. What about your GP? doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.