'You can drop dead': Midwives bullying women

Jennie Dietsch, Pamela Shackleton, Carmel Davies, Margaret McLeod, Margaret Alston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
308 Downloads (Pure)


This paper describes how women experienced what came to be labelled as 'bullying' by a small number of midwives when they were evacuated from their rural and remote areas of NSW, Australia to a maternity unit to birth. Research question: What is the experience of women who are required to travel away from their NSW rural/remote communities to birth? Participants and methods: Forty-two participants together with a number of their partners/ support people were interviewed indepth for this qualitative, exploratory study. Upon thematic analysis of the transcribed interviews, an unexpected finding was that four participants (plus one partner) described experiences which were interpreted as bullying, by a small number of midwives working with them. Women identifying as Aboriginal were especially likely to share stories of midwifery bullying. Results, discussion and conclusion: Emotional and cultural safety of women must be a prime consideration of midwives. Strategies to reverse power differentials between midwives and women are urgently required to eradicate bullying by any midwife.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Dive into the research topics of ''You can drop dead': Midwives bullying women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this