Musculoskeletal symptoms in midwives and work related contributory risk factors.

This paper presents an exploration of work related musculoskeletal symptoms and contributory factors in midwives. Data were collected with a survey (n=635) and interviews (n=15). The survey results showed that the majority of midwives (92%) reported musculoskeletal discomfort within the last 12 months, most commonly for the low back, neck and shoulders. The suggested main contributory factors were awkward working positions, increased work load with longer shifts and fewer breaks, and less support leading to defensive practice. The results of this research indicate that musculoskeletal symptoms are a problem among midwives with serious impacts. Strategies should be developed to manage risk factors to improve patient safety and staff well-being.