Conceptualizing Woman-Centred Care in Midwifery

Lisa Morgan, RM, BSc, BHSc, MA, PhD(c)

Feminist values conceptualize health care service as a social relationship, and they approach the sharing of information as a self-help activity rather than one between experts and naïve recipients. Woman-centred care embraces these ideas and is a fundamental concept in midwifery, straddling both the biomedical model and feminist health care aspirations. The definition of woman-centred care relies on a list of attributes that highlight choice and control, alluding to continuity of care and empowerment. The midwife/ woman relationship is central to the provision of woman-centred care but is not without controversy. This relationship may not always be achievable due to external structures, a focus on “normal birth,” and concerns about work/life balance. Few formal evaluations exist. Regardless, women were dissatisfied with existing care and care providers, and exploring this model of care introduces the possibility for non-authoritarian, collaborative, and respectful care for women.

midwifery, woman-centred, continuity of care, empowerment, midwifery relationship, childbirth

This article has been peer reviewed.


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