The experience of being a traditional midwife: Living and working in relationship with women

Jennie Dietsch, Luc Mulimbalimba-Masururu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The purpose of this paper is to learn from traditional midwives their experience of practising in an area of rural Kenya. Methods: This qualitative service-based research project used a simple exploratory and descriptive design. Data were collected through in-depth interviews and fieldwork notes taken during and immediately after the interviews with 84 traditional midwives. Data were thematically analysed and themes identified through paired-author consensus. Exemplars using the participants' translated words were utilised for analysis and presentation purposes. Findings: In being humble, patient and kind, the traditional midwives used their relationship with women to create an enabling, calm and physiologically sound intrapartum environment. Discussion: Traditional midwives provide a valuable service to women in this area of Kenya at a time when their role is being increasingly devalued by global health agencies. Conclusions: We recommend a redirection of global policy from one that esteems only professional caregivers to one that recognises the potential value of traditional midwives and supports them through sustainable, evidence-based education and resourcing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Midwifery and Women's Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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