Midwiving the Spirit: Religious Diversity and Professional Midwifery in Southern Ontario
KeywordsReligion/Women's Studies; Sociology
Midwifery; Women's Health; Religious Diversity; Spirituality; Feminism;
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AbstractBased on my case study of a metropolitan clinic in Southern Ontario, I argue that Ontario midwives are able to meet the needs of religiously and culturally diverse populations. A sizeable majority of study participants embraced diverse religious or spiritual practices and stated that these were complimented by midwifery care. While some clients reported a perception that midwives were willing to accept religious or spiritual perspectives as legitimate in the context of birth, others choose midwives because a religious investment in the virtue of modesty motivated them to seek out a female caregiver. I argue that by practicing the core values of Ontario midwifery (informed choice, continuity of care, and choice of birthplace) and being willing to accept multiple knowledge systems as valid, Ontario midwives enable women to direct the course of their care according to religious or spiritual beliefs and practices.