Midwives’ ethical practice in selected labour units in Tshwane, Gauteng Province, South Africa

J M Mathibe-Neke, M M Mashego


Background. Midwives provide the majority of maternal and child healthcare in South Africa (SA). The care provided by midwives during childbirth is a unique life experience for women, and in order to provide safe care, midwives are expected to comply with ethical principles, policies and legislation governing their profession, as guided by the International Confederation of Midwives.

Objective. To establish midwives’ perception of ethical and professional practice in selected labour units of public healthcare, in Tshwane District, Gauteng Province, SA.

Methods. A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive cross-sectional design was applied by use of in-depth interviews. Non-probability purposive sampling was used to draw a sample from midwives with 2 or more years of experience working in the labour units. Data saturation was reached with the eighth participant. The digitally recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim. Data analysis was based on interpretive description.

Results. The findings revealed that midwives do understand the ethical code of conduct. They experience challenges such as staff shortages, non-compliance with policies and lack of managerial support, which compromise ethical conduct to a certain extent.

Conclusion. It is hoped that the suggested administrative, midwifery practice and research recommendations will guide the process of empowering midwives in ethical practice

Authors' affiliations

J M Mathibe-Neke, Department of Health Studies, School of Humanities, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

M M Mashego, Medical Unit, George Mukhari Hospital, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2022;15(1):17.

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-05-19
Date published: 2022-05-19

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