Today ResearchGate alerted me that our paper ‘Women, Midwives, and a Medical Model of Maternity Care in Switzerland’  has been read 2,500 times. This paper published in the International Journal of Childbirth focuses on the organisation of maternity health care in Switzerland. Switzerland has a costly health care system with high intervention rates within an obstetric-led maternity care model. Evidence has shown that midwifery care is associated with lower cost, higher satisfaction rates among women, and less intervention. However, in this model, midwives are both marginalized and underused.
The article focuses on the distribution of power and knowledge between midwives, women, and the medical profession. The varying power structures that shape the maternity care system in Switzerland are examined, using a case study approach that draws on Foucault’s concepts of the gaze, surveillance, disciplinary power, and the docile body. This article critically analyzes the model of maternity care received by women in Switzerland and how it negatively impacts on both women’s personal and midwives’ professional autonomy while simultaneously driving up costs.
A better understanding of the underlying power structures operating within the maternity care system may facilitate the implementation of more midwifery-led care currently being endorsed by the Swiss Midwifery Association and some government agencies. This could result in reduced cost and lower intervention rates with reduced associated morbidity.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
- Brailey, S., Luyben, A., Firth, L, van Teijlingen, E (2017) Women, midwives & medical model of maternity care in Switzerland, International Journal of Childbirth 7(3): 117-25.