Original Research

Descriptive survey of women’s childbirth experiences in two state hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal

Uwonkunda P. Mutabazi, Petra Brysiewicz
Curationis | Vol 44, No 1 | a2164 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v44i1.2164 | © 2021 Uwonkunda P. Mutabazi, Petra Brysiewicz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 April 2020 | Published: 29 April 2021

About the author(s)

Uwonkunda P. Mutabazi, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Petra Brysiewicz, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Giving birth is one of the most important events in a woman’s life and is a highly individualistic and unique experience.

Objectives: The study aimed to describe women’s childbirth experiences in two state hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal.

Method: A non-experimental, quantitative, descriptive survey of low-risk mothers was conducted in two state hospitals by using the Childbirth Experience Questionnaire (CEQ).

Results: With a response rate of 96%, 201 questionnaires were completed and returned. The highest mean score of the four dimensions of the CEQ was for the dimension of Professional Support (3.1). The results of the individual dimension items scoring the highest positive response were: I felt that I handled the situation well (147; 74%) (Own Capacity); I felt very well cared for by my midwife (165; 82%) (Professional Support); 151 respondents (76%) scored the item My impression of the team’s medical skill made me feel secure as the highest positive experience (Perceived Safety); and I felt I could have a say in the choice of pain relief (105; 52%) (Participation). The relationship between demographic variables (age, level of education, parity, antenatal clinic attendance, induction of labour, augmentation and duration of labour) and respondents’ scores of the CEQ dimensions was calculated, and only the dimension of Perceived Safety and duration of labour (≥ 12 hours) were found to be significant (p = 0.026).

Conclusion: From the women perspectives, the study results described childbirth experience as multi-dimensional experience and subjective. Both positive and negative experiences coexisted in all dimensions of the CEQ, with the dimension of Professional Support scoring the highest positive response. To maintain a positive birth experience, the study suggests that women should be involved and equipped with knowledge on the process of childbirth.


Keywords

childbirth; childbirth experience; Childbirth Experience Questionnaire; KwaZulu-Natal; maternal healthcare

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