'Not enough people to look after you': an exploration of women's experiences of childbirth in the Republic of Ireland.
AffiliationSchool of Health and Science, Scoil na Sláinte agus na hEolaíochta, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Dundalk, Co., Louth, Ireland. email@example.com
Anecdotes as Topic
Continuity of Patient Care
Health Services Research
Maternal Health Services
Patient Acceptance of Health Care
MetadataShow full item record
Citation'Not enough people to look after you': an exploration of women's experiences of childbirth in the Republic of Ireland. 2012, 28 (1):98-105 Midwifery
AbstractWomen's experiences of childbirth have far reaching implications for their health and that of their babies. This paper describes an exploration of women's experiences of childbirth in the Republic of Ireland.
A qualitative descriptive study consisting of focus group interviews (FGIs) identified important aspects of women's childbirth experiences.
Four randomly selected maternity units in the Republic of Ireland. The pilot study unit was also included in the data collection.
A convenience sample of 25 women who volunteered to participate in five focus group interviews. Eligible participants were >18 years, able to discuss their birth experiences in English, had experienced labour, and had a live healthy baby.
Approximately three months following the birth, data were collected using a conversational low moderator style focus group interviews.
Three main themes were identified, 'getting started', 'getting there' and 'consequences'. Women experienced labour in a variety of contexts and with differing aspirations. Midwives played a pivotal role in enabling or disempowering positive experiences. Control was an important element of childbirth experiences. Women often felt alone and unsupported. The busyness of the hospital units precluded women centred care both in early labour and in the period following the birth. Some women would not have another baby due to their childbirth experiences.
The context within which women give birth in the Republic of Ireland is important to their birth experiences. Although positive experiences were reported many women felt anxious and isolated. Busy environments added to women's fears and participants appeared to accept the lack of support as inevitable. Midwives play a pivotal role in helping women achieve a positive birth experience.
Excluding women's views from service evaluation renders an incomplete and somewhat distorted depiction of childbirth in Ireland. Although women appear to be satisfied with a live healthy baby, the process of 'getting there' has an emotional and psychological dimension that is important to the experience. Measuring the quality of maternity services must encompass recognition of psychological and emotional well-being alongside physical safety.
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