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Holistic Pregnancy Care: Aligning Complementary and Alternative Medicine With Midwifery Practice

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BACKGROUND: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to manage pregnancy-related conditions is becoming increasingly popular. This article draws on a qualitative study that aimed to explain the processes midwives engaged when determining the role of these therapies for pregnancy care.

METHODOLOGY: Our study used grounded theory methodology. Twenty-five midwives, who were employed in metropolitan hospitals situated in Victoria, Australia, participated in the study. Data was collected from semistructured interviews and nonparticipant observation of a subgroup over an 18-month period.

RESULTS: Midwives' attitudes and behavior toward the CAM was influenced by their professional ideology and knowledge. When participants considered the role of these therapies, they employed various strategies including aligning CAM with midwifery philosophy, using the therapies to increase women's options, valuing diverse ways of understanding and seeking out professional knowledge.

CONCLUSIONS: Although midwives do not reject conventional medicine, many value the opportunity CAM offers to individualize care and promote natural childbearing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-06-01

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  • The International Journal of Childbirth is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal publishing original research, reviews, and case studies concerned with the practice of midwifery, women's health, prenatal care, and the birth process. The journal encourages the exploration of the complex and contextual issues surrounding childbirth provision and outcomes and invites manuscripts from a wide range of clinical, theoretical, political, methodological, psychological, public health, policy, and multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives.
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