Women’s experiences of breech birth and disciplinary power
ORCID : 0000-0003-4477-9813
Journal of Advanced Nursing
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Australian Government Research Training Program
Aims: To explore women's experiences of breech pregnancy and birth to identify areas in practice for improvement. Design: A descriptive exploratory study was conducted involving 20 women who had experienced a breech birth between 2013 and 2018. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusion: 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.