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Client experiences of expertise in midwifery care

International Journal of Midwifery

Client experiences of expertise in midwifery care in New Brunswick, Canada

This study contextualizes client experiences of midwifery in New Brunswick within the broader literature on midwifery in Canada and contributes to understandings of how midwifery care fits into the landscape of reproductive healthcare in the province.
Semi structured interviews with 32 clients and supportive others of the New Brunswick midwifery program were carried out in 2019 and 2020, and transcripts were analysed using general thematic analysis.
N New Brunswick, Canada
Clients of midwifery care provided by the Fredericton Midwifery Centre, as well as their supportive others (partners and spouses, family members, friends)
Participants in this study reported a high degree of satisfaction with midwifery services and identified several approaches to practice that they felt contributed to high quality midwifery care. These include competence and expertise, time and access as abundance rather than scarcity, attention to the familial context, trauma informed care and attention to mental and emotional health, postpartum care, and supporting agency and autonomy. In short, participants’ responses indicate that midwifery care in New Brunswick meets the criteria for respectful maternity care, as outlined by Shakibazadeh et al. (Shakibazadeh et al., 2018) and Butler et al. (Butler et al., 2020). Our findings are in line with research on midwifery care in other settings, although there is a significant emphasis on the medical expertise and training of midwives amongst our participants which is less evident in the scholarly literature.
Key conclusions
In a province where reproductive health care has been systematically underfunded, clients celebrate the expertise and competence of midwives, challenging the narrative which constructs midwifery as ‘traditional’ care, and hospital-based obstetrics as expert care. Instead, midwives are recognized as highly specialized evidence-based practitioners, and this is particularly prized by clients in relation to processes of information sharing.

Database: Elsevier – ScienceDirect

Received 21 May 2021, Accepted 13 December 2021, Available online 16 December 2021, Version of Record 23 December 2021

Christiana MacDougall, Krista Johnston

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