BACKGROUND: Mothers develop expectations regarding midwives’ care during labour and when these are not met mothers become dissatisfied and eventually have negative experiences of their labour. It is only when mothers’ voices are heard by midwives in the labour ward that efficient and quality care will be provided. To ensure mothers have a positive experience of labour, midwives should include mothers’ expectations when caring for them.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the study on which this article is based was to determine mothers’ expectations of midwives’ care during labour. To achieve this purpose the researcher sought to explore and describe mothers’ expectations of midwives’ care during labour in a specific public hospital in Gauteng.
METHOD: A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual study design was used. Face-to-face, in-depth individual interviews were conducted with mothers about their expectations of midwives’ care during labour. Data were then analysed with an open descriptive method of coding (Tesch’s eight steps) that is appropriate for qualitative research to identify categories. The data was also analysed by an independent coder. The categories were subsequently placed within a holistic health promotive nursing theory that encompasses body, mind and spirit.
RESULTS: The findings revealed the provision of comfort and support as the two main aspects that the mothers expected from the midwives’ care. The mothers expected midwives to improve their communication skills with them (mothers) as well as with fathers or partners if they were available. The mothers expected midwives to facilitate bonding between mother, father and baby, and also encouraged the midwives to improve their (midwives’) knowledge, skills and morale.
CONCLUSION: The results of this study should assist midwives in providing holistic quality care to mothers during labour, thus providing satisfaction and positive experiences of the mothers’ labour.