Date of Award

1-1-1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Nursing

School

School of Nursing

Faculty

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Anne McMurray

Second Advisor

Patricia Percival

Third Advisor

Yvonne Hauck

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the experience of parents who have had a homebirth in the past two years in Perth. Studies conducted to date have predominantly used quantitative research methods, investigating the safety of homebirth and comparing home to hospital birth without exploring a couples experiences. A phenomenological approach was used as it seeks to understand human experience in context. The research design consisted of a field study, in which ten parent couples were interviewed and three homebirth videos observed. Data analysis was conducted according to the procedure outlined by Colaizzi (cited in Knaack, 1984, p. 110) which is to describe, interpret and extrapolate common themes and meanings. Of the ten couples interviewed four couples spoke of their first child's homebirth and the remaining six couples had three or four children who had been born at home. Research participants were attended to during their homebirth by one of five registered midwives. The essence of these parents' experiences of homebirth was gained through identifying significant statements from transcripts and field notes then clustering these into themes. The four essential themes were Constructing the Environment, Assuming Control, Birthing, and Resolving Expectations. The research findings provide health professionals and consumers with an insight into homebirth which challenges them to alter their practices and assumptions regarding this birth environment.

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