The Experience of Being a Traditional Midwife: Living and Working in Relationship With Women
Article first published online: 1 MAR 2011
© 2011 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives
Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health
Volume 56, Issue 2, pages 161–166, March/April 2011
How to Cite
Dietsch, E. and Mulimbalimba-Masururu, L. (2011), The Experience of Being a Traditional Midwife: Living and Working in Relationship With Women. Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health, 56: 161–166. doi: 10.1111/j.1542-2011.2011.00025.x
- Issue published online: 23 MAR 2011
- Article first published online: 1 MAR 2011
- birth attendant;
- traditional midwifery
Introduction: The purpose of this project was to learn from traditional midwives about their experience of practicing in an area of rural Kenya.
Methods: This qualitative, service-based research project used a simple exploratory and descriptive design. Data were collected through in-depth interviews and fieldwork notes taken during and immediately after the interviews with 84 traditional midwives. Data were thematically analyzed and themes identified through paired-author consensus. Exemplars using the participants’ translated words were used for analysis and presentation purposes.
Results: In being humble, patient, and kind, the traditional midwives used their relationships with women to create an enabling, calm, and physiologically sound intrapartum environment.
Discussion: Traditional midwives provide a valuable service to women in this area of Kenya at a time when their role is being increasingly devalued by global health agencies. We recommend a redirection of global policy from one that esteems only professional caregivers to one that recognizes the potential value of traditional midwives and supports them through sustainable, evidence-based education and resourcing.