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Rev Saude Publica. 2007 Feb;41(1):44-52.

[Support during childbirth: perception of health care providers and companions chosen by women].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Departamento de Enfermagem, Centro de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC, Brasil.



To understand health care providers' perception on managing laboring women in the presence of a labor companion of their choice, and the labor companion's perception of this experience.


A qualitative study was conducted based on a controlled randomized clinical trial. Sampling was intentional and determined through information saturation. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 11 health care providers and 16 laboring companions in the obstetric unit of a maternity facility at the hospital complex, in Campinas, Southern Brazil, between October 2004 and March 2005. The thematic analysis of discourse was applied using the following methodological figures: central idea, key expressions and discourse of the collective subject.


The most remarkable central ideas of health care providers were: no difference was observed in managing laboring women with a labor companion; positive changes were noted in labor management when a labor companion was present; the companion provided emotional support to laboring women who were more pleased, and felt safer and peaceful; many positive aspects were seen in the behavior and involvement of laboring women with a labor companion; the companion caused no problems and encouraged health providers to engage in a more humane and less routine attitude. The main central ideas of labor companions were: positive feelings, emotions, a sense of satisfaction with the experience; being with the laboring woman was a great opportunity to provide her emotional support; and they felt welcome by health care providers.


Health providers considered positive the support provided by a labor companion and had no problems in managing laboring women in the presence of their companions. Labor companions were pleased and happy with this experience. There was no conflicting opinions.

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