Midwifery And Their Patients Essay

2249 words - 9 pages

One of the fundamental principles of midwifery is the relationship that is developed and nurtured between a midwife and the woman she is caring for (Guilliland & Pairman, 2010; Kirkman, 2010; Pairman, 2006 cited in Leap & Pairman, 2010). This relationship is one of partnership. By ‘being with’ and supporting each woman’s independence in autonomy throughout her pregnancy and birth the potential is created for the woman to be empowered and enriched so that she feels confident and self-assured in her abilities as a woman and as a mother (Guilliland & Pairman, 1995; McCourt & Stevens, 2005; Siddiqui 1991; Katz Rothman, 1991 cited in Leap & Pairman, 2010). To do this midwives are required to view the relationship as one based on mutual learning and respect rather than considering themselves as the ‘expert’ (Guilliland & Pairman, 1995; Pairman, 1998 cited in Leap & Pairman, 2010). Relating to this idea of mutual learning and respect in partnership, Guilliland and Pairman (1995 cited in Leap & Pairman, 2010) make an interesting point, stating that if the goal of midwifery is to promote autonomy for women than the concept of advocacy in maternity care should be questioned. Also, Leap and Pairman (2010) argue that for a woman to feel empowered she should be advocating for herself. In most situations, the majority of women are capable of doing this, particularly in relationships where the midwife has encouraged the woman to access information and communicate her desires (Leap & Pairman, 2010). Developing a partnership relationship in which the midwife values the woman’s expertise is a skill that requires the midwife to be secure and confident in herself as both a woman and a midwife (Kirkham, 2000 cited in Leap & Pairman, 2010) as she must trust in the woman’s ability to monitor her baby’s wellbeing throughout pregnancy and early motherhood but also be able to sense when it is appropriate to intervene (Leap & Pairman, 2010). This ability requires the midwife to resist ‘making things better’ or ‘sorting things out’ as unnecessary intervention can disempower a woman by interfering with her self-confidence and self-determination (Leap & Pairman, 2010). However, where ability for self-advocacy is reduced or absent the partnership relationship allows the midwife to speak on the woman’s behalf from a position of knowledge and trust that has been developed throughout the woman’s pregnancy (Leap & Pairman, 2010).

As stated above, autonomy and self-determination both have a positive influence on how women view themselves. Green et al. stated in both 1988 and in 2000 (cited in Leap & Pairman, 2010) that women have stipulated that how they feel as new mothers is affected by the amount of autonomy they had during pregnancy, birth and early motherhood. Leap and Pairman (2010) go on to explain that involving women in decision-making enables women to learn about and gain confidence in the lifelong process of decision-making which involves weighing up risks and...

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