Normalizing birth in England: A qualitative study

Holly Powell Kennedy, Jane Grant, Cathy Walton, Jennifer Shaw Battista, Jane Sandall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: This study examined factors that foster or hinder the support of normal birth in two English National Health Service Trusts identified for public recognition of their work to normalize birth. Methods: This interpretative qualitative study was guided by institutional ethnographic and narrative methods. Purposive sampling was conducted to achieve maximal variation across social, demographic, cultural and ethnic groups. In-depth interviews explored clinician's and women's views and experiences of normal birth. Ethnographic observations of practice, clinical and administrative meetings, educational sessions, and informal discussions were conducted over 6 months at one of the maternity settings. Antenatal and intrapartum clinical guidelines were reviewed and analyzed. Results: Three key strategies supported the normalization of birth: 1) an " ethos" of normality; 2) " working" the evidence; and 3) " trusting" women to make informed choices best for them. Inappropriate use of technology, disregarding risk status when assigning women to units, lack of physician preparation in normal birth, and poor staffing levels were cited as barriers. Discussion: These strategies should be carefully examined for translation to the United States and future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-269
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Midwifery and Women's Health
Volume55
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

England
Parturition
National Health Programs
Ethnic Groups
Demography
Guidelines
Interviews
Technology
Physicians

Keywords

  • Childbirth
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Institutional ethnography
  • Midwifery-led care
  • Normal birth
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery

Cite this

Normalizing birth in England : A qualitative study. / Kennedy, Holly Powell; Grant, Jane; Walton, Cathy; Shaw Battista, Jennifer; Sandall, Jane.

In: Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health, Vol. 55, No. 3, 01.05.2010, p. 262-269.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kennedy, Holly Powell ; Grant, Jane ; Walton, Cathy ; Shaw Battista, Jennifer ; Sandall, Jane. / Normalizing birth in England : A qualitative study. In: Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health. 2010 ; Vol. 55, No. 3. pp. 262-269.
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