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Traumatic childbirth experiences: practice‐based implications for maternity care professionals from the woman's perspective

Koster, Diana; Romijn, Chantal; Sakko, Elvira; Stam, Catelijne; Steenhuis, Nienke; Vries, Dani�lle; Willigen, Ilze; Fontein?Kuipers, Yvonne


Diana Koster

Chantal Romijn

Elvira Sakko

Catelijne Stam

Nienke Steenhuis

Dani�lle Vries

Ilze Willigen


Objective: To explore women’s traumatic childbirth experiences in order to make maternity care professionals more aware of women’s intrapartum care needs.

Method: A qualitative exploratory study with a constant comparison/grounded theory design was performed. Thirty-six interviews were conducted with women who had given birth in a Dutch birth setting.

Findings: Three themes, playing a profound role in the occurrence of traumatic birth experiences, emerged: (i) lack of information and consent – maternity care professionals’ unilateral decision making during intrapartum care, lacking informed-consent. (ii) feeling excluded – women’s mal-adaptive response to the healthcare
professionals’ one-sided decision making, leaving women feeling distant and estranged from the childbirth event and the experience. (iii) discrepancies – inconsistency between women’s expectations and the reality of labour and birth – on an intrapersonal level.

Conclusion: Women’s intrapartum care needs cohere with
the concept of woman-centred care, including personalised care and reflecting humanising values. Care should include informed consent and shared decision-making. Maternity care professionals need to continuously evaluate whether the woman is consistently part of her own childbearing process. Maternity care professionals should
maintain an ongoing dialogue with the woman, including women’s internalised ideas of birth.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 2, 2019
Online Publication Date Oct 27, 2019
Publication Date 2020-09
Deposit Date Jan 10, 2022
Journal Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Print ISSN 0283-9318
Electronic ISSN 1471-6712
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 3
Pages 792-799
Keywords traumatic birth experience; maternity care; midwives; intrapartum care; qualitative research
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