Midwives’ experiences of the factors that facilitate normal birth among low risk women in public hospitals in Catalonia (Spain)

Anna Martin Arribas, Olga Canet Velez, Rocío Casañas Sanchez, Isabel Salgado Poveda, Xavier Espada Trespalacios, Pablo Rodriguez Coll, Montserrat Pujol Abajo, Cristina González Blázquez, Ramon Escuriet

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Normal birth has major benefits for women and infants. Nevertheless, during the last few decades, the advancement in technology and an increasing domination of obstetrician-led childbirths have resulted in the medicalization of childbirth. Midwives are interested in amending this trend and aim to support women to achieve the best possible birth experience for them. Objective: This study aimed to explore midwives’ experiences on the facilitators and barriers of normal birth in conventional obstetric units. Design: A descriptive qualitative study. Three focus groups were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Recurrent themes were identified and formulated. Feedback from data were analysed using thematic analysis. Investigator triangulation was used during the analysis. Setting: Midwives from eleven different public hospitals in Catalonia participated in the study. Participants: A purposive sample of 33 midwives participated in the focus groups. Findings: Midwives identified several factors that complicated their task of facilitating normal birth. Barriers included: (1) inadequate institutional support; (2) existing obstetrician-led practices, (3) lack of evidence-based practice and (4) midwives’ lack of awareness of professional competencies. Factors facilitating normal birth included: (1) midwives’ positive perceptions of normal birth, (2) midwives’ additional effort and (3) women's awareness of normal birth. Key conclusions: Midwives wishing to promote normal birth in obstetric units face a number of challenges and often feel unsupported. Nonetheless, the midwives perceive the increasing women's demand for normal births as an opportunity to implement changes in such a way that women are involved in the decision-making process and midwives act as their advocates. Implications for practice: There is a need to increase the midwifery workforce and enhance regulations and funding strategies to support their practice as well as normal birth. Policy makers in settings without well-functioning midwife-led care should consider implementing this model after successfully scaling up of the number of midwives and ensuring an effective midwifery training.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102752
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Barriers
  • Experiences
  • Facilitators
  • Hospital
  • Midwives
  • Normal birth


Dive into the research topics of 'Midwives’ experiences of the factors that facilitate normal birth among low risk women in public hospitals in Catalonia (Spain)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this