University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)64-70
JournalBirth
Journal publication date1 Mar 2018
Volume45
Issue1
Early online date17 Sep 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

Abstract

Background: Induction of labor currently accounts for around 25% of all births in high-resource countries, yet despite much research into medical aspects, little is known about how women experience this process. This study aimed to explore in depth the induction experience of primiparous women. Methods: A qualitative study was undertaken, using a sample of 21 first-time mothers from a maternity unit in the south of England. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in women's homes between 3 and 6 weeks postnatally. Data were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed thematically. Results: Women awaiting induction on the prenatal ward appeared to occupy a liminal state between pregnancy and labor. Differences were noted between women's and midwives’ notions of what constituted “being in labor” and the ward lacked the flexibility to provide individualized care for women in early labor. Unexpected delays in the induction process were common and were a source of anxiety, as was separation from partners at night. Women were not always clear about their plan of care, which added to their anxiety. Conclusions: Conceptualizing induction as a liminal state may enhance understanding of women's feelings and promote a more woman-centered approach to care. Thorough preparation for induction, including an explanation of possible delays is fundamental to enabling women to form realistic expectations. Care providers need to consider whether women undergoing induction are receiving adequate support, analgesia, and comfort aids conducive to the promotion of physiological labor and the reduction of anxiety.

Notes

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Annabel Jay, Hilary Thomas, and Fiona Brooks, ‘In labor or in limbo? The experiences of women undergoing induction in labor in hospital: Findings of a qualitative study’, Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care, September 2017. Under embargo. Embargo end date: 17 September 2018. This article has been published in final form at DOI: 10.1111/birt.12310. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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