Needs of parents and professionals to improve shared decision-making in interprofessional maternity care practice: A qualitative study

Joyce Molenaar, Irene Korstjens*, Marijke Hendrix, Raymond de Vries, Marianne Nieuwenhuijze

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Web of Science)


BackgroundShared decision-making (SDM) is a critical but challenging component of high quality maternity care. In co-creation with parents and professionals, we are developing an intervention to improve SDM. As a first step we aimed to explore the experiences and needs of parents and professionals regarding shared decision-making in interprofessional antenatal, natal, and postnatal care. MethodsWe organized 11 focus groups in the Netherlands in November and December 2016. Parents, primary care midwives, hospital-based midwives, obstetricians, obstetric nurses, and maternity care assistants participated. ResultsParents and professionals recognized the SDM steps of introducing a decision (choice talk) and discussing options (option talk), but most parents did not seem to discuss preferences and weigh options with professionals before making their final decision (decision talk). Barriers to SDM were often related to interprofessional collaboration, while good communication skills of parents and professionals facilitated SDM. An intervention to improve SDM would need to: (a) increase awareness and offer insight into the SDM process and roles and responsibilities of parents and professionals, (b) develop good communication skills, and (c) encourage interprofessional collaboration. The preferred design of the intervention was online, interactive, and practical. ConclusionsParents and professionals will benefit from an intervention designed to improve SDM. A practical e-learning for all maternity care providers and e-health information for parents seems most appropriate. Key elements for the e-learning are raising awareness of the roles and responsibilities of parents and professionals, developing good communication skills and encouraging interprofessional collaboration. This requires a variety of educational strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-254
Number of pages10
JournalBirth-Issues in Perinatal Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • interprofessional collaboration
  • maternity care
  • needs assessment
  • parents
  • shared decision-making

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