Veiled midwifery in the baby factory - A grounded theory study.


Institution of Health and Care Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Midwives' professional role has been changing drastically over time, from handling births in home settings to being part of a team in labour wards in hospitals. This demands a greater effort of interprofessional collaboration in childbirth care.
OBJECTIVE : Explore midwives' work in a hospital-based labour ward from the perspectives of other professions, working in the same ward.
METHODS : Classical grounded theory, using a constant comparative analysis, was applied to focus group interviews with obstetricians, assistant nurses and managers to explore their views of midwifery work during childbirth.
RESULTS : The substantive theory of 'veiled midwifery' emerged as an explanation of the social process between the professions in the 'baby factory' context. The other professionals perceive midwifery through a veil that filters the reality and only permits fragmentary images of the midwives' work. The main concern for the other professions was that the midwives were 'marching to own drum'. The midwives were perceived as both in dissonance with the baby factory, and therefore hard to control, or, alternatively more compliant with the prevailing rhythm. This caused an unpredictability and led to feelings of frustration and exclusion. Which in turn resulted in attempts to cooperate and gain access to the midwifery world, by using three unveiling strategies: Streamlining, Scrutinising and Collaborating admittance.
CONCLUSIONS : Findings provide a theoretical conceptualisation of a 'veiled midwifery 'that causes problems for the surrounding team. This generates a desire to streamline and control midwifery in order to increase interprofessional collaboration.


Assembly line,Interprofessional collaboration,Labour care,Midwifery,Work situation,

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