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Women Birth. 2013 Jun;26(2):110-3. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2012.05.001. Epub 2012 Jun 4.

The dwelling space of postnatal care.

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Centre for Midwifery and Women's Health, School of Health Care Practice, Auckland University of Technology, P.O. Box 92 006, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.



This paper considers the dwelling space of postnatal care, how being-there feels for the woman going through the experience of matrescence. The research takes a hermeneutic approach and draws on philosophical notions from Heidegger.


'What is the nature of the dwelling space of valued postnatal care?'.


Appropriate ethics approval was gained. Participants were midwives, nurses, women, and other relevant stakeholders. There were 4 focus groups involving 11 participants and 19 individual interviews. Data collection was conducted over a one week period by a team of three researchers. An interview schedule had been organised by the administrator at the Centre. Participants chose whether to come to the centre to be interviewed, or be interviewed in their own homes. Most interviews were an hour. All interviews were tape recorded and transcribed, with the participant's permission. Data was analysed through a hermeneutic process set in the context of related literature.


When women are invited into a dwelling space that strengthens them they feel 'mothered': being listened to, have their needs anticipated, and are cared for in a loving manner. In such a way they grow confidence. A child health nurse reported the difference such care made to on-going mothering at home.


All women deserve a dwelling space in their early days of matrescence. Small birthing centres perhaps achieve such care and ambience more easily than large institutional units. Nevertheless, wherever the place, practices need to be enabled that foster the spirit of dwelling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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