The influence and meaning of the birth environment for nulliparous women at a hospital-based labour ward in Sweden: An ethnographic study
【Abstract】 Labour and birth are sensitive physiological processes substantially influenced by environmental and psychosocial factors. To explore the influence and meaning of the birth environment for nulliparous women giving birth in either one of two differently designed birthing rooms at a hospital-based labour ward. Five months of ethnographic fieldwork was conducted at a labour ward in Sweden, consisting of participant observations of 16 nulliparous women giving birth in either a ‘Regular’ birthing room (n = 8) or a specially designed, ‘New room’ (n = 8). Data included field notes, informal interviews, reflective notes, and individual interviews with eight women after birth. The data was analysed through an ethnographic iterative hermeneutic analysis process. The analysis identified the birth environment as consisting of the physical space, the human interaction within it, and the institutional context. The analytic concept; Birth Manual was conceived as an instrument for managing labour in accordance with institutional authority. Significant to the interpretation of the influence and meaning of the birth environment were two abstract rooms: an Institutional room, where birth was approached as a critical event, designating birthing women as passive; and a Personal room, where birth was approached as a physiological event in which women’s agency was facilitated. Institutional authority permeated the atmosphere within the birth environment, irrespective of the design of the room. A power imbalance between institutional demands and birthing women’s needs was identified, emphasising the vital role the birth philosophy plays in creating safe birth environments that increase women’s sense of agency.
【Author】 LisaGoldkuhla, LisenDellenborga, MarieBergab, HelleWijkacd, ChristinaNilssone
【Keywords】 Ethnography, Birth environment, Childbirth, Agency, Woman-centred care, Atmosphere
【Journal】 Women and Birth(IF：2.1) Time：2021-07-27