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Keywords:

  • action research;
  • feminist;
  • midwifery;
  • reflection;
  • uniform

Wisanskoonwong P, Fahy K, Hastie C. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2011; 17: 628–635

Reflections on the practice of facilitating group-based antenatal education: Should a midwife wear a uniform in the hospital setting?

The first author of this paper, a Thai midwife, conducted a feminist action research project aimed at collaboratively developing a model for group-based antenatal education in Thailand. Should a midwife wear a uniform when facilitating midwife-led group-based antenatal education sessions in the hospital setting? This paper reports on a single example of reflection in and on midwifery practice that aimed to answer the guiding question. The practice and reflection occurred over a number of months at the beginning of the feminist action research project. The midwife should wear normal clothes when facilitating group-based antenatal education as a symbol of equality in power relationships within the group. When power relationships between women and the midwife are equalized, women are more able to take responsibility for their health as they are less likely to defer to the ‘expert’. Reflection in and on practice is a powerful tool to allow the midwife to understand and change her own practice as required to meet those goals. Self-change is a critical first step because there can be no change in the way maternity care is provided without each midwife being willing to be self-aware and open to appropriate self-change.