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(2018) Care in healthcare, Dordrecht, Springer.

Witnessing as an embodied practice in British midwifery care

Annekatrin Skeide

pp. 191-209

In this contribution, I introduce witnessing as one mode of action and interaction of midwives and women during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum stage. I understand witnessing as an embodied interrelated presence of midwives and women which takes place in specific configurations. Witnessing is contractual: midwife and woman have to fulfil their role in order to make it work. Witnessing can be an assuring external interpretation of body states. It might lead to alienation if the woman feels exposed and distanced. I show that touching can be a witnessing strategy if it is not imposed and not aimed at producing medical testimonials only. Trust is a strategy of the witnessed woman which anticipates the vulnerable intimateness which is expected from the midwife. As witnessing is embodied and situated, it might compete with the supposed higher truth of technical testimonials like those created by the CTG (cardiotocograph). If and how, where, and under which circumstances witnessing is enacted relates to midwives' and women's "scope of action".

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-61291-1_10

Full citation:

Skeide, A. (2018)., Witnessing as an embodied practice in British midwifery care, in F. Krause & J. Boldt (eds.), Care in healthcare, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 191-209.

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