Objective: to explore women's experiences in interaction with their midwives during their antenatal checks and during labour. Design: a qualitative study using a phenomenological approach. Data were collected via tape-recorded interviews. All interviews were transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using Colaizzi's method for data analysis. Setting: the homes of the study participants in the district of a Taipei (Taiwan) teaching hospital. Participants: a purposive sample of 11 Taiwanese women, one primipara, and 10 multiparae, who were one to three months post-childbirth at the time of interview. Findings: five major themes revealed the essence of women's experiences of their interaction with a midwife during pregnancy and childbirth: (1) being respected, (2) being accompanied, (3) trust, (4) being satisfied, and (5) professional competence. Key conclusions: the women recognised the service model of the midwife; they treasured their mutual relationships and the benefits that women derived from midwifery care during childbirth. In Taiwan, the government is mandated to offer midwifery models of care in hospitals, and to allow women to choose different types of care provider. Implications for practice: an awareness of women's experiences will help identify the caring behaviours as recognised by the women and may help health-care professionals provide better support and care for women during the pregnancy and childbirth periods. These findings can serve as references for future midwifery practice models and improvements in quality of care.