Phillips, Mari (2008) Woman centred care? An exploration of professional care in midwifery practice. In: School of Human and Health Sciences Research Open Day, 10th March 2008, Huddersfield University, UK. (Unpublished)

‘Women and their families should always be treated with kindness, respect and dignity… the views, beliefs and values of the woman, her partner and her family in relation to her care and that her baby should be sought and respected at all times” (National Institute for Clinical Excellence 2007, p. 2). This highlights both the apparent importance and the currency of this concept as part of the care of child bearing women and their babies.

Drawing on findings from a qualitative study undertaken as part of a PhD, using a modified grounded theory and feminist approach, and using data from interviews with women and midwives, and the observations of five women’s labours and births, I shall explore what woman-centred care means to both women and midwives and how this care is offered by midwives and perceived by women.

I shall outline the multiple agendas that emerged, the tensions and dilemmas this presents for women and midwives and the implications for policy makers and both service and education providers.

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