• Midwives' experiences of facilitating normal birth in an obstetric-led unit: a feminist perspective.

      Keating, Annette; Fleming, Valerie E M; Centre of Midwifery Education, Fifth floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital,, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. Annette.Keating@mailp.hse.ie (2012-01-31)
      OBJECTIVE: to explore midwives' experiences of facilitating normal birth in an obstetric-led unit. DESIGN: a feminist approach using semi-structured interviews focusing on midwives' perceptions of normal birth and their ability to facilitate this birth option in an obstetric-led unit. SETTING: Ireland. PARTICIPATION: a purposeful sample of 10 midwives with 6-30 years of midwifery experience. All participants had worked for a minimum of 6 years in a labour ward setting, and had been in their current setting for the previous 2 years. FINDINGS: the midwives' narratives related to the following four concepts of patriarchy: 'hierarchical thinking', 'power and prestige', 'a logic of domination' and 'either/or thinking' (dualisms). Two themes, 'hierarchical thinking' and 'either/or thinking', (dualisms) along with their subthemes are presented in this paper. KEY CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: this study identified some of the reasons why midwives find it difficult to facilitate normal birth in an obstetric unit setting, and identified a need for further research in this area. Midwifery education and supportive management structures are required if midwives are to become confident practitioners of normal birth.