Background. A woman's satisfaction with the childbirth experience may have immediate and long-term effects on her health and her relationship with her infant, but there is a lack of current research in this area.
Aim. This paper reports a study to examine multiple factors for their association with components of childbirth satisfaction and with the total childbirth experience.
Method. A correlational descriptive study was conducted with 60 low-risk postpartum women, aged 18–46 years, with uneventful vaginal deliveries of healthy full-term infants at two medical centres in the south-eastern United States. The Labor Agentry Scale, McGill Pain Questionnaire and Mackey Childbirth Satisfaction Rating Scale and a background questionnaire were completed by women. Obstetrical data were collected from the medical record.
Findings. Personal control was a statistically significant predictor of total childbirth satisfaction (P = 0·0045) and with the subscale components of satisfaction (self, partner, baby, nurse, physician and overall). In addition, having expectations for labour and delivery met was a significant predictor of satisfaction with own performance during childbirth.
Conclusions. Personal control during childbirth was an important factor related to the women's satisfaction with the childbirth experience. Helping women to increase their personal control during labour and birth may increase the women's childbirth satisfaction.