“Midwives Are Nice, But …”: Perceptions of Midwifery and Childbirth in an Undergraduate Class


  • Sharon Bernecki DeJoy CPM, LM

    Corresponding author
    1. Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Community and Family Health at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, Tampa, FL.
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Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida College of Public Health, 13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC 56, Tampa, FL 33612. E-mail: sdejoy@health.usf.edu


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to explore college students' beliefs about childbirth and midwifery.

Methods: A critical qualitative analysis was used to identify common themes that occurred in an online class discussion about midwifery.

Results: This population of 459 college students drew on the larger social discourse of the medical model of childbirth to frame their discussion of childbirth and midwives. Common beliefs that emerged from class discussions included the perceived dangerous nature of childbirth, the necessity for technologic interventions in childbirth, and doubts about the quality of midwifery training and practice.

Discussion: To promote midwifery among this population, advocates should continue public education efforts through a variety of media and communication strategies, with an emphasis on the safety of midwifery care.

J Midwifery Womens Health 2010;55:117–123 c̊ 2010 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.