Human factors in midwifery: impact of musculoskeletal symptoms on patient safety

This paper presents an investigation of musculoskeletal disorders and its consequences in midwives in order to improve the quality and effectiveness of maternity care and patient safety. A mixed method approach was used to collect data starting with a survey (n=633) and then followed with interviews (n=15) and a confirmatory focus group (n=7). A very high prevalence of MSD (92%) was reported by midwives which resulted in functional limitations at work (51%) and sick leave (30%). However, ‘sickness presenteeism’ was suggested to be common for this occupational group, potentially putting mothers’, babies’ and midwives at risk. This high level of discomfort should be reduced to support the delivery of better and safe maternity care.