Exploring student midwives' confidence to support physiologic birth across five countries

J. Fry, J. Wood, C. Farley, D. Dole, J. Lazar, B. Baranowska , U. Tata-Puzyna, M. Wegrzynowska, M. Healy, K. Drake, F. Kalu, C. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Midwives are guardians of normal birth. Many physical and mental health benefits are derived from a positive childbirth experience through physiologic labor and birth. However, medicalization of childbirth has routinized invasive procedures that are overused and have potential harms. Midwives are challenged by gender inequities, power imbalances, and inflexible hospital cultures, hindering their ability to practice to the full extent of their expertise and training. This can inhibit their agency and authority to provide midwifery care in support of physiologic labor and birth and therefore diminish the positive outcomes that midwifery care can achieve. Learning to support physiologic labor and birth takes place in complex clinical contexts, requiring students to deal with various motivational, systemic, emotional, and social barriers to the application of knowledge. It is important to understand confidence for supporting physiologic labor and birth that student midwives develop during their education program as this foundation will help them navigate challenging situations throughout their careers. This research project will describe midwifery student confidence for supporting physiologic birth and explore facilitators and barriers of this confidence.

Method and materials: A survey was created by Bournemouth University midwife lecturers who presented their work at the 2019 Normal Birth Conference. Their talk inspired midwifery educators from Northern Ireland, Poland, Australia, and the United States to collaborate in this study. The survey was modified slightly to fit each country’s unique midwifery educational program and practice structure. The research protocol has been approved through each country’s human rights and ethics review process. This research is currently underway.

Conclusions: Challenges of engaging in cross-country research and preliminary data will be shared at the conference. The results of this project will be used to address relevant gaps in current midwifery education.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2022
Event21st International Normal Labour and Birth Research Conference - Aarhus University , Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 12 Sep 202214 Sep 2022


Conference21st International Normal Labour and Birth Research Conference
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