Midwives’ Attitudes to the Use of the Cardiotocograph Machine

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Background. The literature would suggest that midwives’ attitudes towards the use of birth technology are mainly focused around issues of ‘trust and dependence’ yet there has been no published research to refute or substantiate these beliefs.Aim. This paper reports on an empirical study that aimed to identify midwives’ attitudes to technology usage in the labour ward and specifically the use of the cardiotocograph machine (CTG) for electronic foetal monitoring.Design. A postal survey was conducted and the questionnaire included a 25-item attitude scale, which was designed to assess attitudes towards the use of the CTG machine. All midwives (1086) on the United Kingdom Central Council register for Northern Ireland were surveyed. The data were factor analysed and compared using several categorical groupings including age, perceived skill, prior training with computers and trust in the machines.Results. The results indicate that midwives reject any notion of them being, or becoming, dependent on machines in their practice. However, midwives who trust machines are more disposed to their use and trust is affected by perceived competence.Conclusion. The paper concludes with a recommendation for the future education of midwives to develop and maintain competence based craft skills in natural birth as well as high-tech birth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-604
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • midwives’ attitudes
  • electronic foetal monitoring
  • factor analysis


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