The Uses of Silence


  • Sandra Apgar Steffes R.N., M.S.

    1. Sandra Apgar Steffes, R.N., M.S., is a National Teacher Trainer for the American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics. She teaches childbirth education classes in Los Angeles. Address inquiries to the author at 1406 Avenida de Cortez, Pacific Palisades, CA 90720.
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ABSTRACT: The uses of silence in childbirth education include bridging the “awkward” silence, learning how to direct silences, and how to assist parents with their work during silent periods. Silence can be used as an invitation to explore oneself, relaxation, and discussion. Finally, the “charged” silence is discussed, including its function in helping parents cope with fears and the unexpected in childbirth.