Should left-handed midwives and midwifery students conform to the ‘norm’ or practise intuitively?

Alison Power, Julie Quilter

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


It has been suggested that the proportion of left-handed people, or more specifically, the greater acknowledgement of left-handedness over the past century may be due to fewer left-handed people being ‘forced’ to use their right hand to conform to the ‘norm’, rather than a greater incidence of left-handedness (McManus, 2002). There are approximately 27,000 midwives in the UK (Royal College of Midwives (RCM), 2015); however there is no official data as to the proportion of midwives who are left-handed, nor research into whether they practise with left-handed dominance. This article was inspired by hearing the experiences in practice of first year student midwives who are left-handed. It also documents the experiences of Julie, a left-handed Senior Lecturer in Midwifery who trained in the early 1980s. Questions raised by this article include whether the left-handed student midwives of today have different experiences in practice to those of 30 years ago?; should all student midwives be trained to practise with right-handed dominance or should student midwives be supported and encouraged to practise intuitively, according to their natural dominance?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-659
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Issue number9
Early online date1 Sept 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Sept 2016


  • Left-handed
  • midwife
  • episiotomy
  • simulation
  • clinical practice


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