UBC Theses and Dissertations
The influence of environments on fear of childbirth during women’s intrapartum hospital stays Auxier, Jennifer
Differences in birthing environments and models of maternity care are contributing factors to women’s fear of childbirth. British Columbia has higher rates of caesarean sections than the Canadian national average and provides women with a variety of maternity care models in hospitals. Studying British Columbian women’s perspectives can increase our understanding of the influence of unique hospital birthing environments on women’s childbirth fear. The study aimed to investigate women’s perceptions of effects of hospital birth environments on their childbirth fear, following hospital-based labours and births. The study design was qualitative description. Over a five-month period, 15 women were interviewed individually. Inductive content analysis produced one major theme: Women’s engagement with their labours and births; the major theme incorporated six sub-themes: Women’s connection to their bodies; women’s inclusion in decision-making processes; freedom to use the hospital space; feelings of trust toward professional caregivers; distractions from labour; and personalized care. Study participants linked being disengaged during their labours and births to feelings of uncertainty, fear of the unknown, and losing control while labouring and birthing in hospitals. The study findings point to the importance of professional caregivers incorporating women-centered care practices in maternity care. More investigation into barriers preventing professional caregivers in British Columbia from enacting women-centered care is warranted.
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