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Overcoming barriers

Learn how to overcome barriers to transforming maternity care - overcoming apathy, handling resistance to change, and dealing with economic concerns.
Woman jumping over a water-filled gap
© Griffith University

What did you notice about the comments and poll answers from the last step? Were your barriers similar to others, or quite unique? Did any of the comments from others spark new areas for you to think about in your area?

Overcoming apathy

One of first barriers you might come across is the apathy of others – or yourself. It’s easy to feel that it’s just all too hard, and that it’s impossible for change to actually occur. But remember all of those inspirational real-life stories of women, midwives, and community groups making a difference? One committed person making even small changes can have a huge ripple effect.

One thing you can do to counteract the apathy of others, and to spread information, is to suggest this free course – sometimes it’s easier to share information by having others learn it themselves. You could also spread the word yourself. For example, let others know the conclusions of the Lancet Series on Midwifery and the impact that changing models of childbirth could have globally. Sharing information about potential impact is one way to overcome the barrier of apathy by increasing motivation for change.

Handling resistance to change

Remember, there is no one method to overcome all the different barriers. A different approach is necessary for different people and different situations. The key is to anticipate and plan for potential barriers whenever possible in order to increase the likelihood of success.

Resistance to change is one of the biggest barriers we face. Some resistance to making such a significant change to maternity care is almost inevitable – no matter who you are. Resistance can come from colleagues, management or from an unexpected source. It may even come from you! Resistance comes in many forms.

Some resistance will be due to ignorance. For example, women and maternity care professionals alike may be unaware of the benefits of relationship-based care. For the same reason, management and those in charge of designing maternity services may not want change to occur – it may seem easier to keep things as they are, and too hard to implement needed changes. It may simply be a lack of belief that change will create better outcomes. Sometimes resistance is due to fear of the unknown, while others may fear that their power and territory is being threatened. Those with institutional financial responsibility may mistakenly believe that existing services are the most cost efficient – we’re going to talk about that more, next.

Over to you

Think about where resistance is most likely to come from in your situation, and how that might affect your efforts towards achieving your goals. Why do you think people might resist the changes you propose?

Share some of the potential areas of resistance that may impact the goals you want to achieve.

Once you’ve listed some of your own, it’s time to crowdsource advice:

  • Have a look at other people’s comments. Do you see any obvious solutions to other people’s challenges?
  • Share your tips with them, and see what others suggest to you about the barriers you identified.
© Griffith University
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Maternity Care: Building Relationships Really Does Save Lives

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