• informed choice;
  • decision making;
  • midwives;
  • pregnancy;
  • grounded theory

Protective steering: a grounded theory study of the processes by which midwives facilitate informed choices during pregnancy¶ Helping women to make informed choices during pregnancy is an important and complex part of a midwife’s role that does not appear as yet to have been investigated in depth. The purpose of this study was to use a grounded theory approach to investigate the processes involved when midwives engage in facilitating the making of informed choices for women in the United Kingdom. Interactions between midwives and pregnant women were observed and recorded and focused interviews were conducted with the midwives. Data were analysed according to the grounded theory method. The core category was identified as protective steering, whereby midwives were concerned to protect the women in their care, as well as themselves, when choices were made. Substantive categories were orienting, protective gatekeeping and raising awareness.