How do independent midwives assess the progress of labour?

  • Clare Winter

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science


    Design: This was a small qualitative study using a grounded theory approach. A purposive sample of 6 of the 32 full time practicing independent midwives were interviewed using in-depth semi-structured interviews. The data was transcribed and analysed using the principles of grounded theory. Ethical approval for this study was secured and informed consent obtained from all participants.Summary of Categories: 3 main categories emerged from the data: The first was ‘knowing’, comprising different types of knowledge the midwives used to make decisions. The second physical, signs included various signs displayed by the woman during labour and the third was knowledge of the ‘woman in labour’. This last category was based on the relationship that the woman and the midwife had developed during the antenatal period and through labour.Key Findings: In the absence of prescribed protocols for assessing the progress of labour, midwives develop a rich store of skills and knowledge that assist them in assessing the progress of labour. The foundation of this is the relationship of the midwife with the woman in her care. A model was developed to demonstrate how these three themes are closely entwined.
    Date of Award2002
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMary McNabb (Supervisor) & Suzanne Henwood (Supervisor)


    • Assessing the progress of labour
    • Chaos theory
    • Independent midwives
    • Complexity
    • Grounded theory

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