Descriptive survey of women’s childbirth experiences in two state hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mutabazi, Uwonkunda Providence.
MetadataShow full item record
Background Giving birth is one of the most important events in a woman’s life, and is a highly individualistic and unique experience with many physical, physiological and psycho-social changes in the woman’s life that requires support, help and motivation, not only from professional carers but also from family members. Aim The aim of this study was to survey women’s childbirth experiences in two state hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province in South Africa, in an attempt to identify women’s experiences of labour and birth. Method A non-experimental, quantitative survey was conducted in two state hospitals in the eThekwini District of KZN. Population included all post-partum patients in urban KZN hospitals where the research was conducted. Purposive sampling was used. Two hundred and one low risk mothers; 119 (59%) from hospital A and 82 (41%) from hospital B responded to the Childbirth Experience Questionnaire (CEQ). Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results Results denoted both positive and negative childbirth experiences with positive childbirth experiences being dominant on almost all domains of the Childbirth Experience Questionnaire. A high level of women’s experienced capacity and experienced good professional care and support as well as professional skills were found to be associated with a positive childbirth experience. Negative childbirth experiences were reported mostly in additional comments by few respondents. These negative experiences were found to be linked to women’s poor relationships with staff, a lack of information, neglect and abandonment and not receiving pain relief. Problems such as the shortage of staff and an unfriendly environment were identified to affect childbirth support, leading to a negative experience. Uncleanliness and lack of privacy contributed to feeling unsafe, and fear, anxiety and a lack of support influenced the experience of pain. Conclusion No birth story is exactly the same, and the study results showed that negative and positive experiences coexisted; however positive and satisfying childbirth experiences were dominant amongst the majority of the respondents in the current study. How mothers feel about their labour and birth, whether positive or negative, was found to depend on their individual labour process and outcome. Thus, from the women’s perspective, the study described childbirth experience as a multi-dimensional experience.