Paulina Sporek considers the importance of spiritual, as well as physical, care for women.
Spirituality is something of a taboo subject in health care. While there has been an increase in scientific research on spirituality, there have been few studies of spiritual care in enhancing midwifery practice. At a time when maternity services in the NHS are aspiring to deliver evidence-based care, it appears that we have a problem discussing anything that cannot be demonstrated through research. However, a study into how women perceive the caring role of the midwife indicates that women recognise the importance of the presence of many elements of spiritual care (Crowther and Hall, 2015). It seems that we may be failing to address issues of spirituality in the context of birth and midwifery practice.
For midwives in the UK, holistic care is written into the Standards for competence for registered midwives (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2011) with the assumption that the midwife will assess and monitor each woman holistically, meeting her physical, emotional, social, spiritual and educational needs throughout the preconception, antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal periods. But what does spiritual care mean, and how is it incorporated into midwifery practice?
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