Do women's perceptions of their childbirth experiences change over time? A six-week follow-up study in a Danish population

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate how women's perception of the childbirth experience developed during the postpartum period. The secondary aim was to explore how selected birth interventions were subjectively perceived as part of the birth experience.

DESIGN: A prospective cohort study comparing childbirth experience, assessed at one and six weeks postpartum, using the Childbirth Experience Questionnaire (CEQ).

SETTING: A regional hospital in the northern part of Denmark, with 1,400 childbirths annually.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 201 women with low-risk births who gave birth at North Denmark Regional Hospital were included in this study. We included both nulliparous and multiparous women.

MEASUREMENTS AND FINDINGS: More than 50% of the women changed their perceptions about their childbirth experience after six weeks. After six weeks the overall CEQ score and the domains 'Participation' and 'Professional support' had a lower CEQ score compared to scores obtained one week postpartum, although differences were small. Induction of labor, augmentation of labor, emergency caesarean section, epidural analgesia, and use of nitrous oxide were associated with a lower CEQ score.

KEY CONCLUSIONS: Women assessed their overall birth experience more negatively at six weeks postpartum compared to one week postpartum. Some interventions in the labor process influenced the women's assessment of their experiences negatively.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Paying attention to preventive initiatives to ensure the women a spontaneous birth, if possible, may be essential to create positive perceptions of the childbirth experience.

Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2022

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