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Midwifery. 2005 Dec;21(4):346-54. Epub 2005 Jul 15.

Swedish women's experience of childbirth 2 years after birth.

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  • 1Boras University College of Health Sciences, S-50190 Boras, Sweden.



to describe women's experiences of childbirth 2 years after the birth.


qualitative study using a phenomenological approach. Data were collected via tape-recorded interviews.


interviews in the women's homes between 1999 and 2000, 2 years after the birth.


10 women, five primiparous and five multiparous, who had received care at the ABC centre, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden, between 1996 and 1997.


the essential structure was described as 'an unavoidable situation, which was demanding for both control and loss of control; as going with the flow and at the same time taking command of oneself.' To be in this unavoidable situation may have caused feelings of helplessness if the women were experiencing that the process of childbirth was not progressing. Support and help from the midwife were central to women's ability to handle the situation. To have been in an unavoidable situation changed the women and was also empowering. However, the women's approach to childbirth, to go with the flow and at the same time take command of themselves, is not congruent with the common view of childbirth in Swedish society today. This describes childbirth as something entirely negative that should be handed over to professionals. Five constituents can further describe the essential structure: to be in a situation without return, to receive help, to be changed, to have a different experience and the experience is not in agreement with expectations.


the basis for maternity care should be influenced by women's long-term experiences of childbirth. This could be done by supporting women's own participation, the midwives' opportunity to take a central role, and factors that help women to receive an empowering and strength-giving experience of childbirth.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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