Comprehensive Midwifery: The Role of the Midwife in Health Care Practice, Education, and Research


Book cover image depicts open hands catching a new baby being birthed

Hutton, E.K., Murray-Davis, B., Kaufamn, K., Carty, E., & Butler, M. (Eds.). (n.d.). Comprehensive Midwifery: The Role of the Midwife in Health Care Practice, Education, and Research. The e-Book Foundry @ McMaster University.

Reviewed by: Anonymous, Lehman College


This source is a textbook compiled by many different authors who are all professionals within the field of midwifery. It provides a great background on midwifery and examines many important yet little-known social aspects of midwifery. It does not focus at all on the scientific aspects of midwifery and seems to be intended for those who want to learn about the social implications of midwifery. This source is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license (CC-BY-NC).


Content: For the most part, the content of the source is easy to understand and very clear-cut. Even someone who is a novice in the field, or who doesn’t have any knowledge of midwifery, should be able to understand the majority of what the authors explain. This textbook seems directed toward people who want to learn more about the history, background, and equity of midwifery.

Every author that took part as a contributor seems very qualified for the job, with lots of experience in the field of midwifery and midwifery education. The information that the textbook puts forward is quite interesting and is excellent for stimulating interest in this field. There are some images used and, when they are included, they are great for increasing understanding of the text; however, they are spread unevenly throughout the textbook, likely a result of the different contributors.

The authors certainly could have made their purpose with this textbook clearer, or perhaps established goals or objectives to help guide the learning of the audience. Rather than introducing the subject, the textbook jumps right into the content. Additionally, although they do not inhibit overall understanding, there are one or two typos that I stumbled across, which undermine the professionalism of the resource.

Structure, Organization & Technical: The organization of this textbook is clear and easy to follow. There are four main sections of the book: Midwifery in a Health Care Context; Midwife as Practitioner; Midwife as Educator; and Midwife as Researcher. Each of these chapters has a few different subchapters, each focusing on an aspect of the overall topic. This systematic sectioning of the book makes for an easy-to-follow resource.

There is a very clear table of contents, which is accessible no matter where in the resource you are making it easy to navigate the textbook. This clear-cut interface continues throughout the whole of the resource and it is very easy to access via any type of technology, although without technology it wouldn’t be possible to access it. It’s well laid out and easy to see and read on a computer. Although some of the images are in color, the overall content and message of the text would not be changed if converted to only a black and white type file.

Images & Interactive Features: Where there are figures included, they are helpful and add to the stimulation and understanding of the reader. However, there could certainly be more figures incorporated throughout the text. Additionally, there are not any interactive features. In some of the chapters, there are boxes with summaries or questions, which help to break up the text and foster reflection and comprehension of the reader. An increase in images and interactive features would likely improve the textbook greatly, as it can seem a little text/content heavy. To the right, you can see an example of one of the boxes meant to encourage reflection. This image was taken right from the textbook and illustrates how although these boxes help foster comprehension in the audience, they could do more to break up the monotony of the text.

Social Justice & Equity: This textbook is excellent in building a diverse and equitable resource that anyone, regardless of background, should be able to use and understand. Every author is recognized for their contributions to the book, and the authors incorporate examples that pertain to individuals from all walks of life. A lot of the textbook is educating the audience on how to foster equality within the field of midwifery and it’s clear that the authors did everything within their power to make the textbook a diverse resource. The content, especially the historical portions, is sourced from many different regions and ethnic groups across the world and the illustrations portray a wide array of different individuals, for instance, individuals using a wheelchair.

There are no apparent stereotypes or negative language used in the textbook, and the authors even include a disclaimer at the beginning of the text alerting the reader to their commitment to making this textbook open and useful for all. Additionally, there are diverse authors included and they note that they consulted different groups of people when making this text (i.e., Indigenous peoples) to ensure that their culture was properly and appropriately represented in the source.

Additionally, the issues that specific marginalized groups face are not ignored in this text. The authors do a great job of addressing these issues and instructing the audience on how they may work to remedy such worrisome issues. For example, the last few chapters in this book are course studies, where the authors created specific scenarios to illustrate to the readers how to properly handle them. Many of these scenarios have to do with the difficulties that specific groups may endure in the field of midwifery, and it is very helpful to see how midwives should conduct themselves in such situations.

Accessibility: This resource is free to obtain and can be accessed digitally for no cost to the reader. Even people who are not passionate or extremely interested in midwifery will likely be able to take away something of importance from this text. Additionally, the Creative Commons (attribution, non-commercial) license is very prominent and easy to find, leaving little room for misinterpretation and misuse of the resource.

While this resource is easy to access from any device and is still very usable even in a printed format, the digital formatting of this text does not facilitate easy modification and it might be potentially complicated in determining how to adapt it. Furthermore, without access to technology, it would be impossible to use this resource (unless it was printed). The text colors are clear, simple, and easy to see, and apart from some of the images, color is not used to convey meaning. Additionally, the images are, for the most part, captioned, which allows the reader to understand the explicit relevance of the image.

Supplemental Materials: There are no supplemental materials within this textbook. Perhaps the incorporation of extra materials might lend a better understanding of this resource to the readers.

Overall Review

Overall, I would say that this is an exquisitely helpful resource if one is interested in the background, history, and current implications of midwifery, as well as issues of equity related to midwifery. Although it does stimulate understanding, and audiences of varying knowledge levels should be able to appreciate this resource, it is a little content-heavy, and it might serve well to incorporate more images, interactive features, and/or supplemental materials, to break up the content a bit more.

However, I think that this is a valuable contribution to the field of midwifery. I would recommend this textbook to anyone who has an interest in midwifery, but especially to future midwives, as it has a lot of excellent suggestions and background history on the topic which would be very helpful to know as a midwife.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Evaluating OER for Social Justice Copyright © 2022 by Anonymous is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book