Commonly held Beliefs about Midwives, Midwifery, and Those who Choose Midwifery Care

Researchers: Sarah Sangster and Melanie Bayly

In 2008 the government of Saskatchewan proclaimed legislation allowing for the delivery of regulated midwifery service (Government of Saskatchewan, 2013). Use of midwives can significantly decrease the financial cost of labor and delivery (Reinharz et al., 2000; Association of Ontario Midwives, 2007) and improve birth outcomes (Hutton et al., 2009; Janssen et al., 2007; Janssen et al., 2009; Johnson, & Daviss, B. 2005 ). There are currently 12 registered midwives in urban centers across Saskatchewan. Although demands for midwives far exceed supply throughout the province (Midwives Association of Saskatchewan, 2012), utilization of midwifery services is still controversial, hotly debated, and underused in by the general public.

Through a quantitative study the reproductive psychology team has investigated the perceptions of, and attitudes towards midwifery and home-births in the population of individuals entering childbearing age. This explored factors such as fetal health locus of control knowledge of midwifery, and perceptions of safety. The results of this study were presented at the 13th annual Canadian Association of Midwives conference in Ottawa Canada.

In a qualitative study, using focus groups, the reproductive psychology team is investigating commonly held beliefs about midwives, midwifery and people who choose midwifery care. The results of this study are expected to aid in the understanding of the currently low levels of midwifery uptake by the general population, and also aid in the marketing of midwifery.