Midwives' verbal support of nulliparous women in second-stage labor. Academic Article uri icon


  • To describe how nurse-midwives verbally support nulliparous women during second-stage labor and document specific details of each second stage.Descriptive qualitative study.A university hospital labor and delivery unit in the southwestern United States.Nulliparous women (n = 14) older than age 18 and their attendant midwives (n = 9).A single research midwife observed the entire second stage of each woman and used a standardized data collection form to record spontaneous or directed pushing, position changes, open and closed glottis pushing. A digital audio recorder was employed to capture verbal communication between the midwife and laboring woman. The research midwife and two qualitative experts employed content analysis to analyze the audio transcripts and identify categories of verbal support.Analysis revealed four categories of verbal support: affirmation, information sharing, direction, and baby talk. The vast majority of verbal communication by nurse-midwives consisted of affirmation and information sharing. Nurse-midwives gave direction for specific reasons. Women pushed spontaneously the majority of the time, regardless of epidural use.Nurse-midwives use a range of verbal support strategies to guide the second stage. Directive support was relatively uncommon. Most verbal support instead affirmed a woman's ability to follow her own body's lead in second-stage labor, with or without epidural.© 2013 AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

publication date

  • June 2013