Case-loading midwifery in New Zealand: bridging the normal/abnormal divide `with woman'

Deborah Davis, Kim Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)



to explore the way that case-loading midwives in New Zealand construct midwifery (and in so doing, the concepts of woman and childbirth). This paper illuminates the fundamental features of this construction (continuity and woman-centred care) and discusses this with regard to the role of midwives vis-à-vis normal/abnormal birth.


semi-structured interviews and official publications constituted the ‘text’ which was analysed using a poststructural approach that was informed by theorists Foucault, Grosz and Braidotti.

Participants and setting

48 case-loading midwives practising throughout New Zealand participated in this study. These included facility-employed and self-employed midwives and those from rural and urban settings.


many midwives follow women through their maternity experience providing continuity of care regardless of whether the experience is considered ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’.

Key conclusions

continuity and woman-centred care are fundamental features of the construction of midwifery in New Zealand.

Implications for practice

a focus on the midwifery concept of ‘with woman’ can bridge the divide between the polarising concepts ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ and enable a more fluid and dynamic reading of midwifery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-52
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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