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Meta-synthesis, Multiple births



  1. Beck, Cheryl Tatano DNSc, CNM, FAAN


Increasing numbers of qualitative studies in maternal-child nursing are being published. However, clinical application and knowledge development based on those studies will be hampered unless the rich understandings gleaned from these individual studies can be synthesized. Meta-synthesis is one technique to help accumulate knowledge from qualitative research. The first section of this article explains the technique of meta-synthesis and reviews meta-syntheses published in nursing. The focus then becomes an illustration of a meta-synthesis in maternal-child nursing: Mothering multiples during the first year of life. Six qualitative studies comprised the sample for the meta-synthesis. The meta-synthesis revealed a shared set of five themes that help increase our understanding of mothering multiples: "bearing the burden," "riding an emotional roller coaster," "lifesaving support," "striving for maternal justice," and "acknowledging individuality." Implications for practice derived from this meta-synthesis are addressed.