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Personal Values Required for Ethical Best Practice during Intrapartum Care

Jacobeth Mmabyala Louisa Malesela


Women bring into the birthing unit values which include preferences, concerns and expectations that are involved in decision-making during intrapartum care. When midwives fail to meet the women’s values, they experience such care as being inhumane and degrading, thus affecting the childbirth outcomes. The inhumane and degrading care includes a lack of sympathy and empathy, as well as a lack of attention to privacy and confidentiality. Midwives’ possession of the required personal values and the ability to integrate women’s values are vital to enhance ethical best practice during intrapartum care. The aim of the study was to explore and to describe the midwives’ personal values that are required for ethical best practice during intrapartum care. The birthing unit at a public hospital in the Gauteng province of South Africa formed the context of the study. A qualitative research design that was explorative, descriptive and contextual in nature was used. The following personal values emerged: (1) respect, trust and dignity; (2) justice, equality and fairness; (3) freedom of choice and autonomy; (4) integrity, honesty and consistency; (5) good character and personality; (6) self-control and rapport; and (7) open-mindedness and flexibility. The midwives’ personal values form a strong precursor that is crucial for ethical best practice during intrapartum care. The individual midwives, nursing education institutions and health facilities can use the study findings in areas such as reflective midwifery practice, the midwifery curriculum, recruitment and selection processes, and as part of key performance areas and indicators in performance reviews.


best practice, ethics, intrapartum care, midwives, personal values, perspective

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