Creating a Safe Haven—Women's Experiences of the Midwife's Professional Skills During Planned Home Birth in Four Nordic Countries
- Nordic Homebirth Research Group consisting of Ellen Blix, PhD, is a principal curator, TromsÖ, University Hospital, Norway; Hanne Kjaergaard, PhD, is a clinical associate professor, Juliane Marie Research Centre, Denmark; OlofAsta Olofsdottir, PhD, is a professor, Reykjavik University, Iceland; Ingegerd Hildingsson, PhD, is a professor, Mid-Sweden University, Sweden; Li Thies-Lagergren, PhD, is a clinical midwife, Helsingborg General Hospital, Sweden; Ingela Radestad, PhD, is a professor, Sophiahemmet University College, Sweden; Ingela Lundgren, PhD, is an associate professor, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
The midwife assisting a birth has a considerable influence on the woman's experience of the birth. The aim of this study was to investigate the experience of the midwife's professional skills among women in Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden who chose a planned home birth.
Design and Setting
All known home birth midwives were asked to inform the mothers about the project and invite them to complete a questionnaire about different aspects of their home birth experience.
The women were asked to assess 10 different aspects of the midwives' professional skills on a 4-graded scale below the main question: What was your experience of the midwife who assisted the labor? Furthermore, the mothers' experiences with the attending midwives were identified in the free text birth stories. The chosen method was a mixed method design.
The home birth midwives' professional skills were generally high scored. No statistically significant differences were found with respect to the assessment of the midwife. The content analyses yielded one overarching theme: The competence and presence of the midwife creates a safe haven, and three categories, midwife's safe hand, midwife's caring approach, and midwife's peaceful presence.
Women choosing a home birth in the four Nordic countries experienced that their midwives were highly skilled and they found the presence of the midwives valuable in helping them to feel safe and confident during birth. Despite differences in organization and guidelines for home births, the women's experience of the midwife's professional skills did not differ between the four countries.