The Midwife-woman interaction as a critical component of antenatal care: ethical implications and lessons to be learned
Keywords:antenatal care, critical component, midwife-woman interaction, ethical implications, pregnancy
Pregnancy and childbirth are important rites of passage for women and their families, with deep personal and cultural significance, bringing joy along with great physical and emotional vulnerability. The purpose of the study under review was to explore pregnant women’s experiences of midwife-woman interaction and the extent to which it conforms to respectful ethical care. A qualitative case study design was applied. The setting was randomly selected primary health care facilities that form a first point of contact for pregnant women for antenatal care in Gauteng, South Africa. The population of the study was pregnant women of low socio-economic class receiving free antenatal care service at public primary health care facilities. Women waiting for their routine antenatal care were conveniently selected to be part of the focus group discussions (FGDs). The data was analysed thematically. Whilst a few positive aspects regarding midwife-woman interaction were shared, the participants expressed a desire for personal care; a shorter waiting time; continuity of care; enhanced communication with midwives; a greater opportunity for asking questions and receiving comprehensive answers; and a greater attention to their needs and fears. Recommendations were provided based on the study findings to enhance respectful practice by midwives.