Caseload midwifery is expanding in Denmark. There is a need for elaborating in-depth, how caseload midwifery influences the partner and the woman during childbirth and how this model of care influences the early phases of labour.
To follow, explore and elaborate women's and their partner's experiences of caseload midwifery.
Phenomenology of practice was the analytical approach. The methodology was inspired by ethnography, and applied methods were field observations followed by interviews. Ten couples participated in the study. Most of the couples were observed from the onset of labour until childbirth. Afterwards, the couples were interviewed.
The transition from home to hospital in early labour was experienced as positive. During birth, the partner felt involved and included by the midwife. The midwives remembered and recognized the couple's stories and wishes for childbirth and therefore they felt regarded as "more than numbers". Irrespective of different kinds of vulnerability or challenges among the participants, the relationship was named a professional friendship, characterised by equality and inclusiveness. One drawback of caseload midwifery was that the woman was at risk of being disappointed if her expectations of having a known midwife at birth were not fulfilled.
From the perspective of women and their partners, attending caseload midwifery meant being recognised and cared for as an individual. The partner felt included and acknowledged and experienced working in a team with the midwife. Caseload midwifery was able to solve problems concerning labour onset or gaining access to the labour ward.