BackgroundThe COVID-19 pandemic has caused isolation, fear, and impacted on maternal healthcare provision.AimTo explore midwives’ experiences about how COVID-19 impacted their ability to provide woman-centred care, and what lessons they have learnt as a result of the mandated government and hospital restrictions (such as social distancing) during the care of the woman and her family.MethodsA qualitative interpretive descriptive study was conducted. Twenty-six midwives working in all models of care in all states and territories of Australia were recruited through social media, and selected using a maximum variation sampling approach. Data were collected through in-depth interviews between May to August, 2020. The interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analysed.FindingsTwo overarching themes were identified: ‘COVID-19 causing chaos’ and ‘keeping the woman at the centre of care’. The ‘COVID-19 causing chaos’ theme included three sub-themes: ‘quickly evolving situation’, ‘challenging to provide care’, and ‘affecting women and families’. The ‘Keeping the woman at the centre of care’ theme included three sub-themes: ‘trying to keep it normal’, ‘bending the rules and pushing the boundaries’, and ‘quality time for the woman, baby, and family unit’.ConclusionFindings of this study offer important evidence regarding the impact of the pandemic on the provision of woman-centred care which is key to midwifery philosophy. Recommendations are made for ways to preserve and further enhance woman-centred care during periods of uncertainty such as during a pandemic or other health crises.


Crown Copyright © 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Australian College of Midwives. All rights reserved.

Cite as

Stulz, V., Bradfield, Z., Cummins, A., Catling, C., Sweet, L., McInnes, R., McLaughlin, K., Taylor, J., Hartz, D. & Sheehan, A. 2021, 'Midwives providing woman-centred care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia: A national qualitative study', Women and Birth, 14 October 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2021.10.006

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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