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Keywords

Visiting policies, Women's experiences, Family-centered care, Labor support, Social presence.

 

Authors

  1. Price, Sheri MN, RN
  2. Noseworthy, Jennifer BTh
  3. Thornton, Juliet MN, RN

ABSTRACT

Purpose: To explore the meaning and significance women attach to family and friend presence during childbirth within a tertiary care birth unit.

 

Design and Methods: Qualitative descriptive study using interviews conducted with 16 women in the immediate postpartum period after vaginal birth. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis.

 

Results: Overall, women revealed that they greatly value companionship and social support in labor. The women's choice of who would be present was often related to who "knew them best." They chose to have individuals present not for the purpose of visiting but to provide support and share in the birth experience. The women believed that decisions regarding visitation in labor were theirs to make and as a result often didn't discuss their choices with healthcare professionals beforehand.

 

Clinical Implications: The findings have implications for family-centered maternity care and visitation policy development. Nurses who work in the childbearing area should be aware of women's desires for supportive friends and relatives during the birthing process and work toward helping women achieve their goals for a supportive birth experience.