To explore the definition of autonomy, its significant features and impacts on midwifery practice.
Combined keywords searched were performed on electronic databases: Scopus, Science Direct and Medline within EBSCOhost and Google Scholar. Data were extracted and analysed corresponding to the objectives of this review.
A total of eight studies (n=8) were included (one quantitative and seven qualitative). Autonomy is the central element in midwifery that is commonly linked with informed choices; decision-making and power to control over a situation. In order for a midwife to be autonomous, important attributes include knowledge and skills (being confident, and the ability to think critically). It was also found that infrastructure and culture at work impacts autonomy in midwifery practice.
Albeit a limited number of studies were included in the review, this review provides an important platform for understanding the principles and concepts that underpin autonomy in midwifery practice.