Women want midwives to engage partners more (Germany)

birth partners dad

Group discussions with mothers in Germany have revealed that mothers want midwives to engage their partners better. They expect their partners to be fully informed by midwives – reporting that often they are not – and that their partners are actively supported to be fully involved in the hospital and afterwards at home. In the hospital, women want a family room.

50 women participated in 10 focus groups in 5 states in Germany. In Germany, by law every woman is entitled to midwifery care. Standard care includes about 14 hours of birth preparation classes in the second trimester of pregnancy and these are commonly open to partners also. Some provide course hours for expectant fathers only, something that was highlighted positively by women in this study.

Two earlier studies of women’s experiences from 2015 and 2016 also find that women want more support for their partners, describing birth as a common venture within their family.

The study references the framework for quality maternal and newborn care by Renfrew et al in The Lancet. This framework makes no reference to family.


Mattern E, Lohmann S & Ayerle GM (2017), Experiences and wishes of women regarding systemic aspects of midwifery care in Germany: a qualitative study with focus groups, Pregnancy and Childbirth 17

Photo: Kelly Sue DeConnick. Creative Commons.