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Flemish midwives’ perspectives on supporting women during the transition to motherhood – A Q-methodology study

Van den Branden, Laura; Van de Craen, Natacha; Van Leugenhaege, Luka; Mestdagh, Eveline; Timmermans, Olaf; Van Rompaey, Bart; Kuipers, Yvonne J


Laura Van den Branden

Natacha Van de Craen

Luka Van Leugenhaege

Eveline Mestdagh

Olaf Timmermans

Bart Van Rompaey


In this study we aimed to reveal midwives’ distinct perspectives about midwifery support of women in their transition process during the continuum from pregnancy to one-year postpartum.

A Q-methodology study, a mixed quantitative-qualitative approach, was conducted. Participants (P-set) rank-ordered 36 statements (Q-set) about how midwives provide support during the woman's transition to motherhood, followed by interviews to motivate their ranking. To extract the perspectives/factors on support during this transition process, centroid by-person factor analysis and varimax rotation was used. The transcripts of the interviews were interpreted per factor.

Independent (self-employed) and employed, community and hospital-based practising midwives in Flanders, Belgium.

83 practicing midwives participated, selected on: variation in practice setting, years of experience, views on the woman's domestic role in family life, and motherhood status.

Two distinct perspectives (factors) on supporting women in transition to motherhood emerged. The job-focused midwife acts according to evidence, knowledge and guidelines and adheres to the scope and tasks within the professional profile (Factor 1). The woman-focused midwife acts within a relationship of trust emphasizing the one-on-one connection while supporting transition to motherhood and the woman's needs (Factor 2). Both factors showed an explained total variance of 59% of the Q-set.

Key conclusions
Both the job-focused midwife and the woman-focused midwife represent distinct perspectives about the midwife's execution of supporting transition to motherhood, including salotugenic elements. This provides an understanding of midwives’ thoughts and experiences about why and how support is given.

Implications for practice
More awareness about the subjective distinct ways of thinking about supporting transition to motherhood should be integrated in practice, midwifery education and professional development.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 24, 2021
Online Publication Date Nov 28, 2021
Publication Date 2022-02
Deposit Date Jan 10, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 29, 2022
Journal Midwifery
Print ISSN 0266-6138
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 105
Article Number 103213
Public URL


Flemish Midwives’ Perspectives On Supporting Women During The Transition To Motherhood – A Q-methodology Study (accepted version) (270 Kb)


Copyright Statement
Accepted version licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.

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