A hermeneutic phenomenological analysis of midwives' ways of knowing during childbirth.

Research paper by Lauren P LP Hunter

Indexed on: 25 Sep '07Published on: 25 Sep '07Published in: Midwifery


to explore the ways of knowing used by the midwife while attending women during childbirth through textual analysis of poems written by American midwives.a hermeneutic phenomenology and human science research method inspired by van Manen was used. Midwifery ways of knowing during childbirth were thematically derived from 10 poems written by midwives about attending childbirth or the experience of being a midwife. Textual analysis included examination of the poems as a whole, via verse and metaphor, and via individual lines of prose.10 American midwives wrote the poems used in this study. The poems were discovered through online searches of many databases using the key words 'poetry, poems, midwifery and childbirth' and through a national call for poetry by the researcher over a period of 4 years (1996-2000), undertaken in order to publish an anthology of poetry written by midwives.three authoritative ways of knowing that guided the care given by the midwife to women during childbirth were discovered. They were self-knowledge from the belief system of the individual midwife, grounded knowledge from the midwife's personal lived experience with childbirth, and informed knowledge from objective and scholarly sources.midwives must continue to develop their own body of knowledge in order to move the profession forward. Multiple ways of knowing including the use of experiential/contextual and intuitive knowledge is legitimate and humane, if provision of care is holistic. Care of women during childbirth can be enhanced with the use of multiple knowers and multiple ways of knowing. This study captured a unique and fresh interpretation of the lived experience of midwifery knowledge. Midwifery educational programmes should offer opportunities for students to explore the artistry as well as the science of midwifery practice.