An assessment of the experience of childbirth in women delivering at the University teaching hospital, Lusaka

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Chisembele, Maureen Chileshe
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The birth experience is something that affects a woman's perception of her labour. A positive birth experience may correlate with a positive perception of labour and vice versa. As caregivers we are interested in whether a mother perceives her birth experience positively or not, because in some ways we feel responsible and it reflects on the care that we are providing. In trying to find answers to what factors affect the birth experience 282 women who had a vaginal delivery at the UTH over a period of eight weeks were surveyed. Also studied was whether there were any differences between the primiparas and multiparas.The findings were that, of the factors that affect the birth experience, pain relief, length of labour, whether labour is thought to be straightforward or difficult, whether the staff attitude was perceived positively or negatively, significantly affected the birth experience. Primiparas tended to perceive their labours as longer than multiparas and they tended to rate their birth experience less positively. A fulfilling and positive birth experience is as important as a good outcome. Some of the factors noted above like pain relief and helpful staff attitude can be improved upon to contribute positively to women's overall birth experience.