An exploration of the perceptions of student midwives about midwifery education related to abortion


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Background There is variation in undergraduate curriculum content related to abortion, both nationally and internationally.
Aims To explore how student midwives perceived education related to abortion within a midwifery curriculum.
Methods A qualitative exploratory survey design used an anonymised questionnaire to capture the perception of 60 student midwives on education related to abortion. Frequency, distribution and themes generated were synthesised using framework analysis. Results A total of 45 students responded. Overall, 16 were in first year, 15 were in second year and 14 were third year students. Of those who had received education about abortion, only five (2.25%) expressed that their learning needs about the topic had been met. A total of 40% (18) had cared for women seeking abortion while in clinical placement. There were two overarching themes that were identified: education and values.
Conclusions The theory of abortion did not prepare the students for practice. Standardised midwifery content is required, covering definition, process, and legal aspects of care around abortion, on international, national and local levels. Empathy was enhanced by exposure to theory or practice and a safe, reflective, educational space is essential to explore how perceptions change after exposure to the topic.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Pages (from-to)822-828
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Issue number12
Early online date9 Dec 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Dec 2020
EventInternational Triennial Congress of Midwives - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 18 Jun 201722 Jun 2017
Conference number: 31


  • Student midwives
  • Sensitive topics
  • Abortion
  • Termination of pregnancy
  • Midwifery Education
  • Perceptions


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