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Midwifery. 1995 Dec;11(4):163-73.

Satisfaction and continuity of care: staff views of care in a midwife-managed delivery unit.



to examine whether there are differences in the midwife's role in, and satisfaction with, intrapartum care and delivery of women at low obstetric risk in a midwife-managed delivery unit compared to a consultant-led labour ward.


a pragmatic randomised controlled trial. Subjects were randomised in a 2:1 ratio between the midwives' unit and the labour ward.


Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, Grampian, UK.


midwives within the delivery suite who cared for the 2844 women at low obstetric risk receiving care in a pragmatic randomised controlled trial of the two delivery areas.


continuity of carer and midwife satisfaction.


midwives looking after women in the midwives' unit group were significantly more likely to be of a higher grade, more qualified and have a longer length of experience than those in the labour ward group. There was greater continuity of carer both during labour and after delivery in the midwives' unit group. Despite a small but statistically significant difference in overall satisfaction between the groups, area of 'booking' or area of delivery were not important in predicting midwife satisfaction. Autonomy and continuity of carer were the best predictors of midwife satisfaction.


midwife-managed intrapartum care increases continuity of carer and, therefore, midwife satisfaction. Extending this outside the delivery suite requires a system of care that is acceptable to midwives as well as women. Such systems will depend to a large extent on geography, consumer demand and availability of resources. However, midwife satisfaction should also be considered. In order to do this further research is required to fully evaluate the effect these systems have on the midwives working in them.

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