Perception of the birth experience and its ...

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Title Perception of the birth experience and its relationship to early postpartum parenting
Author(s) J. Bryanton
Date 2007
Publisher McGill University (Canada)
Abstract Purpose. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between women's perceptions of their childbirth experiences and their early postpartum parenting behaviours and to determine the factors that predict the birth experience. Methods. Of all women giving birth on Prince Edward Island between October 27, 2004 and December 31, 2005, 652 women and their newborns were recruited from the postpartum units of two general hospitals. Initial data were collected at 12 to 48 hours postpartum using three self-report questionnaires and chart review. Women's childbirth perceptions were then scored, and a sub-sample of these mother-infant pairs (n=175) was assigned to cohorts based on positive (n=95) or negative (n=80) birth perceptions. They were visited at home at 1 month postpartum, where data were collected with three questionnaires using self-report, observation, and biophysical measurements. Results. Based on the results of linear and logistic regression, women's perceptions of their childbirth experience were not predictive of five parenting behaviours/indicators at 1 month postpartum: feeding score (representing attachment and responsiveness), exclusive breastfeeding, protection from harm, and maternal perception of infant health and contentment (representing infant health). 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. Conclusion. Most women, even those who had negative experiences, were parenting effectively at 1 month postpartum. Of the predictors of a quality birth experience, most were amenable to nursing interventions. Thus there are important implications for nurses to enhance patient awareness, relaxation, and control; promote partner support; and provide immediate opportunities for women to be with their babies.

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