Empowerment: A Concept Well-suited to Midwifery
Josée Lafrance, RM, MSc Lyne Mailhot, RN, MA
Midwives, owing to their philosophy and their approach, are inspired by the concept of empowerment during the entire perinatal period. The aim of this article is to demystify the concept of empowerment and then to analyse it in relation to midwifery, particularly during the postnatal period. In light of the analysis of the concept according to the literature, empowerment within the context of midwifery is defined as follows: starting with a relationship that is based on a partnership between the midwife, the woman and her family, empowerment is an intentional process of sharing knowledge and power, which contributes to a woman's will and ability to make choices that are in harmony with her values, while enabling her to confidently undertake the actions that ensue from her choices. The application of the concept of empowerment in the practice of midwifery emphasizes that this approach induces and incites active participation of the mother and the development of her own abilities. Furthermore, empowerment does not occur without contributions from each of the partners. A few questions are raised in regards to the application of the concept of empowerment in the framework of a midwifery practice that is expanding in the Canadian population.
Empowerment, health promotion, midwifery, continuity of care, concept analysis, philosophy, postnatal care, support
This article has been peer-reviewed.