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The Impact of Choice and Control on Women’s Childbirth Experiences

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Women’s choice and control impact birthing experiences. This study used a qualitative, descriptive approach to explore how women develop their initial birth plan and how changes made to the plan affect overall birth experiences. Narrative, semistructured interviews were conducted with 15 women who had given birth in Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada, and data were analyzed using a phenomenological approach. Findings showed that women relied on many resources when planning a birth and that changes made to a woman’s initial birth plan affected her recollection of the birth experience. Conclusions are that women’s positive and negative recollections of their birth experiences are related more to feelings and exertion of choice and control than to specific details of the birth experience.

Keywords: birth narrative; childbirth; choice in childbirth; control in childbirth

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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