Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Dr. Mary-Pat O Malley
4th International Nursing & Midwifery Conference, NUI Galway
Women and midwives' ante-natal conversations: promoting excellence in practice?
NUI Galway
Chaired Session
Optional Fields
Current Department of Health policy aims to deliver ‘woman-centred’ maternity care as a means of ensuring the wellbeing of Irish women. This presentation examines interaction between women and midwives at a midwives’ ante-natal clinic in a large, urban, maternity hospital. The aim of the study was to investigate ante-natal conversations with a view to identifying models of pregnancy and birth circulating in the talk. The clinic itself had been established with a view to delivering ‘woman centred’ maternity care, thereby aiming for excellence in practice. Twenty-two women and five midwives participated in the study and their conversations were recorded over a six month period. Seventy-one visits were recorded in total. Traditionally, analysis of discourse in health care has tended to focus almost exclusively on the conversational activity of the professional with the result that the client/service user’s contribution remains obscured. In this presentation, I briefly attend to midwives’ conversational behaviours before turning my attention to the women and specific features of their talk. The extracts from the data show that they are skilful at trying to steer the talk so that their individual life worlds, social contexts, and life experiences are included in their visits. The extracts also illustrate their awareness of medical perspectives on pregnancy and birth which may, at times, chafe against their subjective viewpoints. By doing so I hope to clarify what was found to be relevant to women in antenatal talk in order to facilitate midwives in their quest for more woman-centred maternity care. Attending to the fine details of talk in ante-natal care (using discourse analysis as a method) provides a unique way to build and promote excellence in clinical practice by encouraging maternity care providers to reflect on their own interactions with women attending their services. 
NUI Galway Triennial Fund
Publication Themes