Educational interventions to promote respectful maternity care: A mixed-methods systematic review

Nurse Educ Pract. 2022 Mar:60:103317. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2022.103317. Epub 2022 Feb 23.


Aim: This systematic review critiqued the impact of educational interventions for midwives, nurses, or midwifery/nursing students to enhance respectful maternity care.

Background: Treating women with respect during maternity care has gained considerable global attention. Although research has focused on raising awareness about respectful care among health care professionals, the effectiveness of educational interventions remains uncertain.

Methods: A mixed-methods systematic review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. This review used a convergent segregated approach, and methodology recommended by Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) mixed-methods systematic reviews, to synthesise and integrate research findings. Multiple databases were searched. JBI critical appraisal checklists for quasi-experimental studies, cross-sectional, and qualitative studies, as well as a mixed-methods appraisal tool were used.

Findings: Nine educational interventions studies met the inclusion criteria, and most were conducted in Africa. Quantitative evidence supported the effectiveness of interventions to improve knowledge/perceptions of midwives and/or nurses regarding respectful maternity care, and woman-provider communication, and reduce women's experience of disrespect and abuse. However, variation in content, intervention delivery mode, duration, timing of pre and post-test, evaluation methods, and difficulty distilling findings from multi-pronged interventions hindered robust conclusions. Only one study used a valid and reliable tool to measure women's experience of respectful care. Qualitative findings suggest continuous education rather than one-off interventions and inclusion of other health care providers as well as managerial staff working in maternity care would help promote respectful care.

Conclusion: There is low level evidence that educational interventions can improve midwives', nurses', and students' knowledge and attitudes towards RMC. Outcomes of education and training need to be monitored regularly with valid and reliable tools. There is a need for respectful maternity care education interventions in high as well as middle and low-income countries.

Keywords: Disrespect and abuse; Education intervention; Knowledge; Midwifery; Mistreatment; Nursing; Perceptions; Respectful maternity care.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health Services*
  • Midwifery*
  • Pregnancy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Respect