Predictors of Women’s Perceptions of the Childbirth Experience

Authors

  • Janet Bryanton,

    Corresponding author
    1. RN, MN, PhD, is an associate professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Canada
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  • Anita J. Gagnon,

    1. RN, MPH, PhD, is an associate professor at the School of Nursing and Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal Victoria Hospital, Women’s Health Mission, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Celeste Johnston,

    1. RN, MS, DEd, is a James McGill Professor at the McGill University School of Nursing, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Marie Hatem

    1. RN, MHSA, PhD, is a professeure adjointe at the Université de Montréal Faculté de médecine, Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
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Janet Bryanton, UPEI School of Nursing, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, C1A 4P3.
jbryanton@upei.ca

ABSTRACT

Objective:  To determine the factors that predict women’s perceptions of the childbirth experience and to examine whether these vary with the type of birth a woman experiences.

Design:  Prospective cohort study.

Setting:  The postpartum units of two eastern Canadian hospitals.

Participants:  Six hundred fifty two women and their newborns.

Data Collection:  Data were collected in hospital at 12 to 48 hours postpartum using self-report questionnaires and chart review.

Main Outcome Measure:  Perception of the childbirth experience was measured for women having a vaginal and emergency cesarean birth using the Questionnaire Measuring Attitudes About Labor and Delivery and planned cesarean birth using the Modified Questionnaire Measuring Attitudes About Labor and Delivery.

Results:  Of the 20 predictors of women’s childbirth perceptions, the strongest were type of birth; degree of awareness, relaxation, and control; helpfulness of partner support; and being together with the infant following birth.

Conclusions:  Of the predictors of a quality birth experience, most were amenable to nursing interventions: enhancement of patient awareness, relaxation, and control; promotion of partner support; and provision of immediate opportunities for women to be with their babies.

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