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Midwife-Led Units: A Place to Work, A Place to Give Birth

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BACKGROUND: With an estimated 120 midwife-led units (MLUs) and 15 years' experience, the United Kingdom displays expertise in what ways women and professionals might benefit from MLUs. This study explored midwives' satisfaction and skills for working in an MLU and a consultant unit (CU) and how these compared.

METHODS: In this exploratory study, both quantitative and qualitative data were collected by anonymous questionnaire from 45 midwives in 2 Scottish maternity units (July 2007).

RESULTS: Midwives working in the MLUs reported a higher level of job satisfaction than midwives working in the CU. Demographic characteristics of the 2 groups differed: MLU midwives were older, had been in practice longer, and had higher grade posts. Qualitative findings revealed some reasons midwives preferred working in the MLU with the emotional support they could give to women, and highlighted some negative predictors of midwives' satisfaction. The questionnaire also explored the midwives' practice: most agreed that the ability to avert and manage problems, work in a low-technology setting, and let labor be are necessary to work in these units.

CONCLUSION: Our findings revealed midwives' greater satisfaction from working in MLU compared to CU. We identified midwives' opinions of specific skills to work in MLU, highlighting areas of importance for midwifery.
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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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