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Midwives’ beliefs about birth influence their approach to providing care for women. Even if midwives are not aware of their specific beliefs, their impact on the quality of care is significant because these visions influence professional choices. Sometimes, midwives intentionally make decisions concerning their beliefs in the context of a certain culture or a philosophical paradigm. Therefore, a midwife needs to focus on her personal beliefs around birth to critically analyze them and understand their impact on practice. In the context of this critical reflection on my beliefs regarding childbirth, I will discuss the following aspects that I view as important for midwifery: birth as a natural process, support, and safety.
Personal Beliefs and Their Origin
The key belief that can affect my practice as a midwife is that childbirth is a normal physiological process that does not require specific interventions in most cases when speaking about normal birth practices. I also share the following view: a midwife’s task is to keep birth normal in all cases when it is possible and when this course does not contradict a woman’s vision. Care and support provided by a midwife should be woman-centered.
Therefore, midwives need to support women’s choices regarding the process of birth, invasive interventions should be used when they are required, and obstetric emergencies should be addressed to guarantee safety and care for women. My task is to overcome a woman’s fear of a birth process, focus on protecting her interests, promote safety, and develop close personal relationships if it is possible in a certain environment.
My beliefs regarding childbirth as a natural process that should be achieved in most cases and the focus on woman-centered care have originated as a result of examining studies on women’s experiences associated with pregnancy and childbirth. I have found that many women in Australia are afraid of birth without medications or some interventions because of the lack of education and support from midwives. Therefore, now I am focused on promoting normal childbirth in cases when it is possible by paying attention to women’s choices, visions, fears, and needs.
Beliefs in the Context of Research Evidence
The discussed beliefs are also supported by the findings presented in the recent research on midwifery. My views are based on the ideas by Bass, Sidebotham, Gamble, and Fenwick (2015), who found that midwifery students are inclined to view birth as a miracle and a natural process. Furthermore, the findings of the study by Adams (2017) explained how midwives regard woman-centered care and support in the maternity care context. Borrelli (2014) found that midwives are expected to have certain ethical values and be oriented to women’s choices. I also believe that midwives need to protect women’s interests, be supportive and careful.
My key belief about birth as a natural process is also supported by other researchers. Thus, Preis et al. (2018) found associations between viewing birth as a natural process and optimism, and they also found correlations between women’s beliefs regarding birth as a medical process and pessimism and anxiety. Similar ideas were declared in the study by Preis, Gozlan, Dan, and Benyamini (2018). Both women and midwives need to believe that birth is a natural and normal process that is safe to avoid fears and anxiety related to discussing the birth and possible risks in medical terms.
Implications for Midwifery Practice
My beliefs about childbirth as a natural and normal process can directly influence my practice as a midwife because they determine professional choices. Viewing childbirth as a natural process, I am oriented to sharing this belief with women to address their possible fears and concerns and provide them with a feeling of safety and support. I will educate women about the process of birth using a positive tone, without referring to it as a complete medical process. I will be oriented to women’s choices if they do not contradict the principles of safe care and prescriptions. I will also act like a professional in a situation of emergency to guarantee safety. Thus, the discussed beliefs influence my vision of birth as a normal process with a focus on women’s needs to provide them with positive experiences.
Goals and Targets for Professional Development
My first goal for professional growth is the development of skills in addressing risky situations and emergencies with a focus on minimizing negative impacts on women and newborns. The principle of focusing on natural birth is associated with decreasing the use of certain interventions and medications (Pairman, Tracy, Dahlen, & Dixon, 2018). Therefore, I need to have highly developed skills to address risky situations in the context of a natural birth process. My targets are the safety and health of women and children.
Midwifery is associated with the high-level responsibility of health care professionals whose choices and decisions depend on their beliefs. This paper has provided a critical reflection on my beliefs as a midwife that can potentially influence my professional practice. I share the idea that childbirth is a natural and normal process and that midwives should guarantee safety and support for females in the context of woman-centered care.
Adams, E. D. (2017). Workplace challenges: The impact of personal beliefs and the birth environment. The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing, 31(1), 20-31.
Bass, J., Sidebotham, M., Gamble, J., & Fenwick, J. (2015). Commencing undergraduate midwifery students’ beliefs about birth and the role of the midwife. International Journal of Childbirth, 5(2), 83-89.
Borrelli, S. E. (2014). What is a good midwife? Insights from the literature. Midwifery, 30(1), 3-10.
Pairman, S., Tracy, S. K., Dahlen, H., & Dixon, L. (Eds.). (2018). Midwifery: Preparation for practice (4th ed.). Chatswood, Australia: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Preis, H., Chen, R., Eisner, M., Pardo, J., Peled, Y., Wiznitzer, A., & Benyamini, Y. (2018). Testing a biopsychosocial model of the basic birth beliefs. Birth, 45(1), 79-87.
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Preis, H., Gozlan, M., Dan, U., & Benyamini, Y. (2018). A quantitative investigation into women’s basic beliefs about birth and planned birth choices. Midwifery, 63, 46-51.