Kairos care in a Chronos world: Midwifery care as model of resistance and accountability in public health settings

Mimi Niles, Saraswathi Vedam, Amy Witkoski Stimpfel, Allison Squires

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: In the Unites States (US), pregnancy-related mortality is 2–4 times higher for black and indigenous women irrespective of income and education. The integration of midwifery as a fundamental component of standard maternity services has been shown to improve health outcomes and service user satisfaction, including among underserved and minoritized groups. Nonetheless, there remains limited uptake of this model in the United States. In this study, we examine a series of interdependent factors that shape how midwifery care operates in historically disenfranchised communities within the Unites States. Methods: Using data collected from in-depth, semi-structured interviews, the purpose of this study was to examine the ways midwives recount, describe, and understand the relationships that drive their work in a publicly funded urban health care setting serving minoritized communities. Using a qualitative exploratory research design, guided by critical feminist theory, twenty full-scope midwives working in a large public health care network participated. Data were thematically analyzed using Braun & Clarke's inductive thematic analysis to interpret data and inductively identify patterns in participants’ experiences. Findings: The overarching theme “Kairos care in a Chronos World” captures the process of providing health-promoting, individualized care in a system that centers measurement, efficiency, and pathology. Five subthemes support the central theme: (1) the politics of progress, (2) normalizing pathologies, (3) cherished connections, (4) protecting the experience, and (5) caring for the social body. Midwives used relationships to sustain their unique care model, despite the conflicting demands of dominant (and dominating) medical models. Conclusion: This study offers important insight into how midwives use a Kairos approach to maternity care to enhance quality and safety. In order to realize equitable access to optimal outcomes, health systems seeking to provide robust services to historically disenfranchised communities should consider integration of relationship-based strategies, including midwifery care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBirth
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • health systems
  • individualized care
  • midwifery
  • relationship-based model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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