An exploratory study of complementary and alternative medicine in hospital midwifery: models of care and professional struggle

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2006 Feb;12(1):40-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2005.09.003. Epub 2005 Dec 22.


Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasingly popular amongst midwives in Australia. A growing number of hospital midwives are personally integrating one or a range of CAM within their midwifery practice. Despite this trend we still know little about CAM in midwifery, particularly at a grass-roots level. This paper reports findings from one section of a larger exploratory study examining grass-root practitioners' understandings and experiences of complementary therapies in nursing and midwifery. Thirteen in-depth interviews were conducted with midwives working in New South Wales public hospitals and currently integrating CAM within their general midwifery practice. Analysis illustrates how midwives' explanations of, and affinity claims regarding, CAM feed into wider ongoing issues relating to professional autonomy and the relationship between midwifery and obstetrics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Complementary Therapies / nursing*
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Midwifery / organization & administration
  • Models, Nursing*
  • New South Wales
  • Nurse Midwives* / organization & administration
  • Nurse Midwives* / psychology
  • Nurse's Role / psychology
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital* / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital* / psychology
  • Obstetrics
  • Physician-Nurse Relations
  • Power, Psychological
  • Professional Autonomy*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Concept
  • Surveys and Questionnaires