Swedish midwives experience high work pace and emotional demands

on 07 December 2021

A study from the University of Gothenburg has found that midwives in Sweden are experiencing stressful work places, high demands and low influence.

2,060 midwives responded to a national survey about their work environment from various maternity care settings across Sweden.

The mean age of respondents was 48 and had been in the profession for an average of 16 years. 52% of midwives who responded worked full-time.

The results of the survey showed that midwives scored negatively for work pace, role conflicts, burnout, quantitative and emotional demands, influence, recognition, and self-rated health.

The study also showed positive aspects of working life which was ‘having meaning’ in their roles and its ‘rich variety’.

Malin Hansson, PhD, at the Institute of Health and Care Sciences at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg said: “There does not appear to be a shortage of midwives in Sweden but a lack of sustainable working conditions and a sustainable working life.

“Midwives report great meaning in their work, but also a strained work situation that entails a work environment that is factory-like and over medicalised, with high demands and inadequate organisational resources and support systems.”

While there isn’t considered to be a shortage of midwives in Sweden, Malin Hanssen said that her thesis provided support for increased staffing and strengthening midwifery, including management.

In conclusion to the study, she states: “The findings in the thesis lay the foundation for health care organisations to implement the required structural changes in terms of governance, management, organisation, and resource allocation, so as to influence and improve the working environment and working conditions for midwives.”

The study ‘A meaningful work in a strained context – exploring midwives’ work situation and professional role” can be found here.