Midwives' work and attitudes towards contraceptive counselling and contraception among women with intellectual disability: focus group interviews in Sweden.Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2019 Feb; 24(1):39-44.EJ
Family planning counselling is an essential part of sexual and reproductive health care; however, health care professionals often fail to offer sexual and reproductive health services to women with intellectual disability (ID), based on a misconception of inactive sexuality. The aims of this study were to gain a deeper understanding of midwives' perceptions of sexual health and contraceptive use of women with ID, and of midwives' practices in providing contraceptive counselling to women with ID.
Five focus group interviews were conducted with 19 midwives at five antenatal/family planning clinics in central Sweden between December 2016 and February 2017.
The findings are presented in a paradigm model comprising the following components: context, causal conditions for women with ID needing contraception, intervening conditions, action and interaction strategies based on the midwives' approach and performance during the consultation, and finally consequences. Midwives strived to enhance informed choice, whenever possible, and tried to maintain a neutral attitude during counselling. They wanted to provide the most suitable contraceptive method balanced against any risk of long-term use and possible side effects. Midwives raised the need for teamwork and inter-professional support to improve health care, security and access to other related services for women with ID.
Few women with ID request contraceptive counselling, which limits midwives' knowledge, experience and competence. Midwives, therefore, plan consultations carefully and strive to enable women with ID to make informed contraceptive choices. Increased teamwork could be a way to strengthen the role of midwives and thereby improve counselling.