UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Women's perspectives on supportive care during labout and delivery Simpson, Melanie Joy


Women’s perceptions of the support that they received during labour and delivery is the focus of this study. Its purpose is to document a sampling of women’s experiences with supportive care during childbirth. Vivid descriptions from the women provided information on when support was most essential, the types and levels of support that they required, and from whom. The interviewees were eight primiparous women who gave birth at the same labour, delivery, recovery, and postpartum (LDRP) unit in a major metropolitan hospital, and who were supported by teams that they had chosen. Each woman had her husband present and an LDRP nurse assigned to care for her. Each participated in one open-ended, semi structured interview, conducted at her home; all interviews were audio taped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for themes and patterns. A qualitative, interpretive, descriptive methodological approach included theoretical and snowball sampling. The outcome of this study indicates that there are intricacies surrounding the various kinds and degrees of supportive care that women require and receive during childbirth, and that meaningful support is multifaceted. Supporting women during childbirth is complex, as each woman and her supportive team are unique and come to the LDRP unit with their own distinctive dynamics. Among the predictors of a quality birth experience is the woman’s capacity for self-support, along with the support team’s mindfulness that she may need to draw on her inner strength, and that her requirements for support might change from one moment to the next. Some of the contextual factors of effective supportive care during childbirth include: the woman’s sense of having some control over the experience of labour and delivery; her inner strength and confidence; privacy; intuitiveness of the support team; and the encouragement, compassion, and empathy of supporters. The results of this study demonstrate the need for further exploration of the supportive care that women receive during childbirth. To help gain a better understanding of the support needs of all women, research should take in women from other cultures and lower socioeconomic backgrounds, those with high-risk complications, women who do not have partners, and those living with abusive partners or otherwise enduring unusual hardships.

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