Ways of relating during childbirth: an ethical responsibility and challenge for midwives

Nursing Ethics 12 (6):606-621 (2005)
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The way in which midwives relate to expectant parents during the process of childbirth greatly influences the parents’ childbirth experiences for a long time. We believe that examining and describing ways of relating in naturally occurring interactions during childbirth should be considered as an ethical responsibility. This has been highlighted in relation to parents’ experiences and in the light of the relational ethics of Løgstrup. Four couples’ and nine midwives’ ways of relating were documented by 27 hours of observation, including 14.5 hours of video-recorded sessions. A qualitative content analysis was conducted. The midwives strongly influenced the different ways of relating and three aspects of professional competence were disclosed. The results can contribute to reflections about current praxis as an ethical demand for midwives



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