An examination of the historical context of interprofessional collaboration in Dutch obstetrical care

N. van der Lee*, E.W. Driessen, E.S. Houwaart, N.C. Caccia, F. Scheele

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Collaboration between different groups of health care professionals is often rooted in a long and often difficult history. This history can exert a strong influence on how professionals collaborate and historical tensions can contribute to problems in contemporary practice. However, literature about interprofessional collaboration often ignores the historical underpinnings of collaboration. In this paper, the historical development of interprofessional collaboration between obstetricians and midwives within the setting of Dutch obstetrical care is explored using a review of Dutch and English literature for documents explicitly or implicitly describing the historical development of this collaboration. This literature delineates the establishment of professional boundaries and the formalization of the collaboration between the two professions. It also details the history of physician domination over the midwives both in midwifery practice and education and the relatively recent reversal of this situation. Moreover, the shift in collaborative partner from general practitioner to obstetrician and its effect on collaboration is examined. Insight into the historical foundations of Dutch maternity care collaboration may allow us to understand the origins, and thus formulate possible solutions, for contemporary problems within this collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-127
JournalJournal of Interprofessional Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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