Women’s experiences of breech birth and disciplinary power
Journal of Advanced Nursing
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Australian Government Research Training Program
To explore women's experiences of breech pregnancy and birth to identify areas in practice for improvement.
A descriptive exploratory study was conducted involving 20 women who had experienced a breech birth between 2013 and 2018.
Semi-structured interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. Transcripts were examined using a free-form ‘circling and parking’ style of analysis. Foucault's concepts of power/knowledge were utilized to describe existing power relations.
Women experienced varying degrees of disciplinary power throughout their experiences. Knowledge was used as a means of enforcing disciplinary power by some clinicians and by women to ‘arm’ themselves and ‘fight’ to regain what they perceived as a loss of power and autonomy. Midwives were seen as navigators of a restrictive, medicalized healthcare system.
By better understanding the power dynamics which exist as well as the stages women go through when experiencing a breech presentation, there remains the potential to identify areas in practice which need improving, and aid clinicians in better supporting women through what can be a very difficult time.