Date of Award

1995

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Liz Pike

Second Advisor

Dr Adlema Hills

Abstract

Satisfaction with childbirth is associated with women's future emotional wellbeing. This study examined whether first- time mother's antenatal expectations, postnatal evaluations of control during labour and delivery, and the discrepancy between expectations and evaluations were significant predictors of women's satisfaction with their childbirth experiences. The effect of medical interventions (e.g., obstetrical interventions and pain relief medication) on women's perceptions of control and satisfaction was also examined. The purposive sample of eighty first-time mothers, mean age 26 years (excluding women who had caesareans) delivered at the public hospital where they attended antenatal classes. During their fourth antenatal class women completed a questionnaire, which included a 12 item scale, devised for the study. The Antenatal Expectation Scale (AES) asked women about their expectations regarding labour and delivery in four main areas: partner support, medical support, use of interventions, and personal control. These sub-scales headings were derived from the Childbirth Expectation Scale, (CEQ) a 36 item Likert Scale developed by Beaton, Bramadat, Gupton and Sloan (1991). Eighty women were re-contacted 4-6 weeks after childbirth and completed a post-natal questionnaire, presented as a phone interview. This questionnaire included a 12 item Postnatal Evaluation Scale (PES), which matched the items presented in the AES, a 25 item affective measure of control during labour and delivery, the Labour Agency Scale, (LAS) devised by Hodnett and Simmons-Tropea ( 1991) and a six item Satisfaction Scale that reflected the four subscales of the CEQ. A sub-set (N = 22) of the sample also completed the CEQ in the postpartum to enable a comparison with the PES. The study replicated Bramadat and Driedger's (1993) results. Expectations, and the discrepancy between expectations and perception of childbirth did not significantly predict women's satisfaction with childbirth. The LAS was the strongest predictor of satisfaction, accounting for 63% of the variance, comparable to 59% of the variance in satisfaction reported by Bramadat and Driedger ( 1993). Furthermore, a significant difference was found for medical interventions on women's satisfaction t (78) = 2.78, p <.001 with women (N = 40) in a high intervention group being less satisfied (M = 33.25, SD = 5.43) than women (N = 40) in a low intervention group (M = 36.72, SD = 5.76).

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