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Giving Birth in Two Maternity Hospitals in Lithuania

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Abstract:  Background: 

In many hospitals in former Soviet countries, traditional Soviet perinatal policies remain in place, although in others reforms have been introduced. This study explores women’s experiences during labor and birth in two Lithuanian maternity hospitals. The hospitals differed in that one (S) followed traditional Soviet era maternity practices whereas the other (P) had been exposed to World Health Organization-Euro practices and policies with respect to more up-to-date evidence-based and family-centered care. Methods: 

Consecutive women giving birth in the two maternity hospitals were asked to participate in a survey. Completed responses were obtained from 416 women in one hospital (P) and 304 in the other hospital (S) representing 92.4 and 67.5 percent response rates, respectively. Results: 

Rates of interventions in both hospitals were similarly high with, however, P hospital being more likely to be sensitive to women’s psychosocial needs, such as being allowed to eat and drink more often during labor, and to have their husband or partner with them for labor and birth. Conclusion: 

It appears that in Lithuania, as in many parts of the world, introducing changes to the clinical care of birth takes time, and psychosocial changes may be easier to introduce than alterations in clinical practice. (BIRTH 37:2 June 2010)
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Keywords: birth; evidence-based care; labor; women’s experiences

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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