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Caring for Women From Culturally Diverse Backgrounds: Midwives' Experiences


  • Jane Cioffi RN, BAppSc (Adv Nsg),

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Jane Cioffi, RN, PhD, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing, Family and Community Health at the University of Western Sydney, is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia and the Quality Society of Australasia and a Member of Sigma Theta Tau International.

  • Grad Dip Ed (Nsg) MAppSc (Nsg), PhD

School of Nursing, Family and Community Health, College of Social and Health Sciences, University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury Campus, Building G10, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC 1797, NSW, Australia. E-mail:


The aim of this study was to show how midwives cared for women from culturally diverse backgrounds. In-depth interviews were used to collect data from 12 experienced midwives who volunteered to participate in the study from a midwifery unit with a culturally diverse population. Study findings revealed that midwives preserved and accommodated the cultural preferences of women from a Chinese background by incorporating the forces of yin-yang into care, heeding the maternal hierarchy and women's stoicism; and for women from an Islamic background by heeding modesty and gender preferences (Hejab), the place of prayer in daily life (Salat), and the imperative of visiting by others (Hadith). Hence, midwives negotiated care that was culturally comfortable for women and their families. Furthermore, triangulated studies addressing the partnership between the midwife and the diverse client are needed, as well as the development of aspects of the health service that are more culturally sensitive.