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Keywords:

  • childbirth;
  • control;
  • Jordan;
  • satisfaction

The main aim of this study is to document women's perceptions of the different aspects their childbirth experience including expectations, satisfaction and self-control. Other aspects of the labour process including length of labour, difficulty of labour, effectiveness of pain control, expectations of pain level, perception of level of involvement in decisions among other variables were also explored. A descriptive cross-sectional design was used to achieve the aim of this study. A convenience sample of 177 Jordanian mothers was used. They were recruited from three primary health-care centres located in Irbid, north of Jordan. Findings of the study indicated that women had a more painful labour than they expected, they were scared of the experience of labour, they went through different procedures during labour including induction and episiotomy, and perceived that they had an intense childbirth experience. The majority of participants reported that they were not satisfied with the different aspects of the childbirth experience and perceived that they had little control during childbirth. These findings should be considered by all health-care providers, hospital administrators and policy-makers to plan and implement appropriate strategies that could help women go through the childbirth experience with less fear and anxiety and empowered with coping mechanisms that could reduce their dissatisfaction with their childbirth experience and to help them regain more control during childbirth. Such strategies might include reconsidering staffing in the maternity units and patient nurse or midwife ratio.