Anarchists, Naturalists, Hippies, and Artists: Beliefs about Midwifery Care and Those Who Choose It


Sarah L. Sangster and Melanie K. Bayly

Although demand for midwifery services in Canada is increasing, research suggests that a low proportion of Canadians would consider midwifery care for their or their partner’s pregnancy. There is still a significant gap in knowledge about why Canadians prefer physician or obstetrician based care over midwifery care. In order to further understand these preferences, the current research employed a qualitative exploration of young adults’ commonly held beliefs about midwifery care and people who choose midwifery care. Discussions about midwifery care and people who choose midwives as their primary care provider during pregnancy and birth were elicited through seven focus groups consisting of 3-7 young adults each, for a total of 29 participants (20 women and 9 men). The discussions were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analysis. Our analyses of the data suggested that participants seemed to believe that people who choose midwifery care value “the natural”, actively eschew the medical system, rebel against convention, value personal experience, and maintain alternative lifestyles. Midwifery care and midwife-assisted births were characterized as facilitating a positive prenatal and birth experience for the mother, but were also often characterized as risky for the pregnancy overall, and in particular for the baby, requiring a high degree of trust on the part of the mother. Midwifery care and midwife-assisted births were described as old-fashioned, and ultimately uncommon. Recommendations for marketing strategies, based on these findings, are suggested.

commonly held beliefs, care provider preferences, beliefs about midwifery care

This article has been peer reviewed.


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