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28.07.2017 | Ausgabe 6/2017

International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 6/2017

Women’s Experiences of Childbirth in Serbian Public Healthcare Institutions: a Qualitative Study

Zeitschrift:
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine > Ausgabe 6/2017
Autor:
Biljana Stankovic

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the present study was to explore how women, users of public maternity healthcare services in Serbia, experience birth and what the most problematic relational aspects of institutional context associated with negative or even traumatic aspects of birth experiences are, as described by the women themselves.

Method

An exploratory qualitative study was undertaken using semi-structured interviews with 15 primiparous women aged 26 to 49 who have recently given birth in different public healthcare institutions in Belgrade. The basic framework for the analysis of interview transcripts was the interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA).

Results

Through the analysis, four relatively broad and partly interrelated themes emerged: (a) feelings of isolation and abandonment, (b) lack of communication, (c) lack of a caring relationship, and (d) lack of control and agency. The aspects of institutional environment that were considered particularly distressing in most of the childbirth experiences are related to distant and cold relationship with healthcare providers which adds to the feelings of isolation and abandonment, in addition to the lack of insight into and control over the process of birth that is managed in the hospital context without relying on women’s subjective involvement in any relevant way.

Conclusion

The present study emphasized a supportive and caring relationship with medical practitioners, as well as allowing women to be more involved into their birthing process, as crucial for positive experience of birth, which might have profound and long-lasting psychosocial consequences. Recommendations for policy makers and future research are offered.

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