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Midwifery. 2006 Sep;22(3):228-39. Epub 2006 May 19.

'Nesting' and 'Matrescence' as distinctive features of a free-standing birth centre in the UK.

Author information

  • 1Midwifery Research Unit, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, PR1 ZHE, UK. Denis.walsh@ntlworld.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To explore the culture, beliefs, values, customs and practices around the birth process within a free-standing birth centre (FSBC).

DESIGN:

Ethnography.

SETTING:

A birth centre situated in the midlands of England.

PARTICIPANTS:

Women attending the centre, midwives and maternity-care assistants (MCAs) working at the centre.

FINDINGS:

Women in the study seemed to invoke intuitive nesting-related behaviours in their assessment of the suitability of the birth centre. In addition, the birth centre staff's focus on creating the right ambience for birth may also emanate from nesting concerns. Birth-centre staff assisted women through the 'becoming mother' transition, which is conceptualised as 'matrescent' care.

KEY CONCLUSIONS:

The birth-centre environment elicited nesting-like behaviours from both women and staff. This formed part of a nurturing orientation that was conceptualised as 'matrescent' (becoming mother) care. 'Matrescence' does not seem to be grounded in clinical skills but is relationally mediated.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:

Nesting-like behaviours and 'matrescent' care in this context challenge maternity services to review traditional conceptualisations of safety and traditional expressions of clinical intrapartum care.

PMID:
16713045
DOI:
10.1016/j.midw.2005.09.005
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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