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Midwives marching to own drum : other professions perspective of midwifery work in labour wards

Conference contribution
Authors Malin Hansson
Ingela Lundgren
Gunnel Hensing
Ing-Marie Carlsson
Published in COST Action BIRTH Conference : Lisbon, Sept 17-18, 2018
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Language en
Keywords Midwifery Assembly line Labour care Interprofessional collaboration Work situation
Subject categories Obstetrics and gynaecology


There has been a paradigm shift in midwifery over time where different professions now work together in childbirth care. There is little research on midwives’ work from other professionals’ perspectives, which is of importance to improve midwives work situation and women-centred care. Therefore, the aim of this article was to explore other professions´ views of midwifery work during childbirth. Classical Grounded Theory, using a constant comparative analysis, was applied to focus group interviews with obstetricians, assistant nurses and managers to explore their views of midwifery work during childbirth. The substantive theory of ‘veiled midwifery’ emerged as an explanation of the social process between the professions in the ‘baby factory’ context. The other professionals perceive midwifery through a veil that filters the reality and only permits fragmentary images of the midwives´ work. The main concern for the other professions was that the midwives were ‘marching to own drum’. The midwives were perceived as both in dissonance with the baby factory, and therefore hard to control, or, alternatively more compliant with the prevailing rhythm. This caused an unpredictability and led to feelings of frustration and exclusion. Which in turn resulted in attempts to cooperate and gain access to the midwifery world, by using three unveiling strategies: Streamlining, Scrutinising and Collaborating admittance. The theory of veiled midwifery could be used as a theoretical basis for future studies, and could be a foundation for a dialogue of philosophical differences in the way birth is viewed in the clinical setting, to improve the work situation.

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