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Exploring routine hospital antenatal care consultations — An ethnographic study

Wright, Diane; Pincombe, Jan.; McKellar, Lois


Diane Wright

Jan. Pincombe


Listening to women as part of their antenatal care has been recognized as valuable in understanding the woman’s needs. Conversations as part of routine antenatal interactions offer ideal opportunities for women to express themselves and for midwives to learn about the woman’s issues and concerns. The antenatal visit and the convention of antenatal consultations for midwives have not been well explored or defined and much of what takes place replicate medical consultative processes. As a consequence, there is little to assist midwives construct woman-centred care consultations for their routine antenatal care practice. This study showed how some practices were better in promoting the woman’s voice and woman-centred care in the hospital setting.

Contemporary focused ethnography using both interview and observations, explored how midwives from six different public antenatal clinics in South Australia organized their antenatal care consultations with pregnant women.

Thematic analysis of the data provided insights into professional interpretation of woman-centred practice. How midwives interacted with women during routine antenatal care events demonstrated that some practices in a hospital setting could either support or undermine a woman-centred philosophy.

Individual midwives adopted practices according to their own perceptions of actions and behaviors that were considered to be in accordance with the philosophy of woman-centred care. Information arising from this study has shown ways midwives may arrange antenatal care consultations to maximize women’s participation.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 12, 2017
Online Publication Date Sep 29, 2017
Publication Date 2018-06
Deposit Date Sep 14, 2022
Journal Women and Birth
Print ISSN 1871-5192
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 3
Pages e162-e169
Keywords Antenatal care, Antenatal consultation, Midwifery care, Communication, Pregnancy care, Women-centered
Public URL