Privacy and Dignity in Midwifery

Topics: Childbirth, Midwifery, Obstetrics Pages: 4 (973 words) Published: November 28, 2014
In this essay I will discuss what privacy and dignity of women and their families in the everyday work of a midwife means, and why it is so important. As an obligation of confidentiality set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2008), names of trusts and individuals will not be mentioned in this essay. The NMC code of conduct (2008) states that as a midwife one must “make the care of people your first concern, treating them as individuals and respecting their dignity.” Without this, midwives are doing a disservice to the woman and compromising the strength of the midwife-woman relationship which, in turn leaves the woman’s care and wellbeing compromised. Furthermore, it is vital that midwives go about treating women and their families with the upmost respect in all aspects of their work as it is a standard of conduct they guaranteed to uphold when notifying the NMC of their intent to practise. Dignity is defined as the “quality of being worthy of respect” (Collins, 2005, p.176) which is how midwives should be treating women in their everyday work. This leads to gaining the trust and confidence of the woman and family, and also improves caregiving and the strength of the midwife/woman relationship. There is a public perception that it is harder for midwives to maintain patient dignity because of the nature of what they must do. However this is not the case, no matter what area of maternity care the midwife is working within – dignity can always be maintained even if only faintly. This can be achieved by allowing the woman to express her thoughts and opinions freely, make informed choices and ensuring consent is given. This will then allow the woman and midwife to form a firmer relationship in which the woman can open up about any problems she may be facing (such as domestic violence or substance abuse, etc.) or any concerns she may have which in turn, can improve the health and safety of both woman and fetus. It is imperative for a midwife to identify...

References: Collins. (2005) Collins Dictionary & Thesaurus: Express. Glasgow: HarperCollins Publishers.
Morad, S., Parry-Smith, W and McSherry, W. (2013) ‘Dignity in Maternity Care’, Evidence Based Midwifery, 11(2), pp.67-70, Royal College of Midwives [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 30 October 2013).
Nursing and Midwifery Council (2013) The Code in Full. Available at: (Accessed: 29 October 2013).
Widäng, I., Fridlund, B and Martensson. (2008) ‘Women patients’ conceptions of integrity within the health care: a phenomenographic study’, 61(5), pp.544, Journal of Advanced Nursing [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 31 October 2013).
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