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Australian women, childbirth, qualitative inquiry



  1. Callister, Lynn Clark PhD, RN, FAAN
  2. Holt, Shelley Thacker BSN, RN
  3. Kuhre, Melody West BSN, RN


Background and significance: Women's perceptions of childbirth are defined within sociocultural context. Listening to the voices of women is essential to increase nurses' sensitivity to the needs of childbearing women and help nurses provide culturally competent healthcare.


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to identify Australian women's perceptions of giving birth.


Method: Seventeen Australian women who had given birth in the past 12 months participated in audiotaped interviews. Trustworthiness of the findings was ensured. Themes were generated on the basis of rich narrative data.


Results: Themes included focusing on the moment of birth, being empowered by giving birth, defining the spiritual dimension of giving birth, having a diminished or traumatic birth, feeling concern for the child, coming to know the child, and receiving care: nurses making a difference.


Implications for clinical practice: Results confirm the findings of other studies suggesting that provision of educational resources and individualized nursing care creates a climate of confidence in childbearing women.