Midwives perceptions: Birth unit environment and the implementation of best intrapartum care practices

  • Jacobeth M.L. Malesela
    Correspondence to: Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, The School of Health Care Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences, PO Box 142, Medunsa 0204, South Africa.
    Public Hospital in Gauteng Province, South Africa

    Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, The School of Health Care Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences, PO Box 142, Medunsa 0204, South Africa
    Search for articles by this author



      Midwives related avoidable factors causing maternal morbidity and mortality rates continue to occur despite the existing intrapartum care-related evidence-based practice guidelines and continuing staff development initiatives.

      Research question

      What are your perceptions regarding a birth unit environment that supports the implementation of best intrapartum care practices.


      To explore and describe midwives’ perceptions about the birth environment that supports the implementation of best intrapartum care practices.


      A qualitative design that is explorative, descriptive, and contextual in nature using a descriptive phenomenology approach.


      A public hospital birth unit in the Gauteng Province in South Africa.

      Population and sample

      The population comprised of 56 permanently employed female registered midwives. A purposive sampling method was used to select 26 participants who met the selection criteria, these participants were willing to participate in the study and to sign the consent form. Data collection process involved three focus group interviews using semi-structured interviews. A qualitative data analysis method was used to analyse data. Trustworthiness was ensured and ethical considerations were adhered to.


      Three main themes emerged namely, interpersonal skills, improved staff development, and adequate resources.


      Conducive birth environment is crucial to childbirth outcomes. Midwives’ constant introspection is essential in fulfilling their obligation to render competent and ethical intrapartum care.


      Midwives identified perceived birth environment barriers affecting their implementation of best intrapartum care practices. Adoption of a comprehensive approach to address the birth unit environment-related factors is suggested to support midwives in their endeavour to provide the best care to women during childbirth.


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