Adams J An exploratory study of complementary and alternative medicine in hospital midwifery: models of care and professional struggle. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2006; 12:(1)40-7

Aune I, Dahlberg U, Ingebrigtsen O Relational continuity as a model of care in practical midwifery studies. British Journal of Midwifery. 2011; 19:(8)515-23

Bengtsson J En livsverdenstilnaerming for helsevitenskapelig forskning. I: Livsverdensfenomenologiske bidrag.: Hoegskoleforlaget; 2006

Bergsjø P, Heiberg M, Telje J, Thesen J Svangerskapsomsorg.Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag; 2006

Cook K, Loomis C The Impact of Choice and Control on Women's Childbirth Experiences. J Perinat Educ. 2012; 21:(3)158-68

Dennis CL, Chung-Lee L Postpartum depression help-seeking barriers and maternal treatment preferences: a qualitative systematic review. Birth. 2006; 33:(4)323-31

Garthus-Niegel S, von Soest T, Vollrath ME, Eberhard-Gran M The impact of subjective birth experiences on post-traumatic stress symptoms: a longitudinal study. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2013; 16:(1)1-10

Gibson CH A concept analysis of empowerment. J Adv Nurs. 1991; 16:(3)354-61

Halldorsdottir S, Karlsdottir SI The primacy of the good midwife in midwifery services: an evolving theory of professionalism in midwifery. Scand J Caring Sci. 2011; 25:(4)806-17

Hall HG, McKenna LG, Griffiths DL Midwives' support for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: a literature review. Women Birth. 2012; 25:(1)4-12

Haugan G, Rannestad TOslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk; 2014

Hermansson E, Mårtensson L Empowerment in the midwifery context--a concept analysis. Midwifery. 2011; 27:(6)811-6

Hewitt MA, Hangsleben KL Nurse-midwives in a hospital birth center. J Nurse Midwifery. 1981; 26:(5)21-9

Holan S Det nye livet. Svangerskap, fødsel og barseltid.Bergen: Fagbokforlaget Vigmostad and Bjørke AS; 2000

Homer CS Home-like environments for labour and birth: benefits for women and babies. Evid Based Med. 2013; 18:(4)

Jordmorstyrte fødestuer (Birth clinics run by midwives). Report from the Norwegian National Centre of Knowledge.: Nasjonalt kunnskapssenter for helsetjenesten; 2006

Kvale S Det kvalitative forskningsintervju (The qualitative research interview).Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk AS; 2001

Lindgren H, Erlandsson K Women's experiences of empowerment in a planned home birth: a Swedish population-based study. Birth. 2010; 37:(4)309-17

Malterud KOslo: Universitetsforlaget; 2003

Pewitt AT The experience of perinatal care at a birthing center: a qualitative pilot study. J Perinat Educ. 2008; 17:(3)42-50

Steel A, Adams J, Sibbritt D, Broom A, Gallois C, Frawley J Managing the pain of labour: factors associated with the use of labour pain management for pregnant Australian women. Health Expect. 2013; 18:(5)1633-44

Sørensen M, Graff-Iversen S Hvordan stimulere til helsefremmende atferd? [How to stimulate health promoting behaviour?]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2001; 121:(6)720-4

Waldenstrøm U, Hildingsson I, Rubertsson C, Rådestad I A negative birth experience: prevalence and risk factors in a national sample. Birth. 2004; 31:(1)17-27

Warren C Exploring the value of midwifery continuity of carer. British Journal of Midwifery. 2003; 11:S34-7

Geneva: WHO; 1994

Geneva: WHO; 1996

Geneva: WHO; 2014

The power of shared philosophy: A study of midwives' perceptions of alternative birth care in Norway

02 February 2016
12 min read
Volume 24 · Issue 2



The aim of this study was to explore important factors that promote the best possible health for mother and child during pregnancy, birth and post-birth in an alternative birth clinic (ABC) in Norway.


The authors used in-depth interviews to identify factors important in ABCs according to the holistic treatment model in the philosophy of ABCs.


Transcription and text condensation were achieved by looking for text to find themes and subthemes to explore daily activities and the role of empowerment.


The most important factors were teaching women how to cope, mentally and practically, and being true to the philosophy of ABCs. Factors connected to empowerment of the women were strengthening their ability to make good decisions, their ability to cope practically, and the midwives' ability to step back and let the women gradually take responsibility.


The ABC in this study reflected theoretical principles for ABCs. Midwives shared common opinions of important factors empowering women.

Implementing safe maternal care is a worldwide concern. Optimal care should be provided during the antenatal, intrapartum and postpartum periods, and should include both the mother and infant (World Health Organization (WHO), 1994; 1996; 2014). In Western countries, births usually take place in hospitals with equipment and personnel to deal with unexpected situations relating to health concerns (Kunnskapssenteret, 2006). The Norwegian Directory of Health emphasises continuity of care. Beyond evidence-based practice in midwifery, there is also a need to address underpinning theory (Halldorsdottir and Karlsdottir, 2011). Holistic care involves considering and supporting the interaction between the patient's physical, mental and social health, and state of mind (Haugan and Rannestad, 2014).

An alternative birth clinic (ABC) features strong elements of supporting the empowerment of women, alongside the professional integrity of midwives. ABCs seek to present a less routine-based, more homely atmosphere compared to hospital units, with an environment featuring specially chosen colours, furniture and plants (Homer, 2013). ABCs support normal birth as the gold standard for giving birth. WHO (1996: 4) defines normal birth as

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Midwifery and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for midwives. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • Unlimited access to the latest news, blogs and video content

  • Monthly email newsletter