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Midwifery students and routine discussion of birth experience in the early postnatal period in hospital

02 June 2017
Volume 25 · Issue 6


It has become increasingly acknowledged that a woman's experience of childbirth can adversely affect her transition to parenthood. Routine discussion of the childbirth experience is not always offered to women in the postnatal period. A postpartum talk, encourages a woman to express her emotional experience, and is an informal discussion of the birth experience with a midwife. This study explores the experiences of hospital-based midwifery students' knowledge and experience of routine discussions of the childbirth experience with women in the postnatal period. Midwifery students stated that they felt they had not received adequate training and education in leading a routine birth discussion with a woman, and they felt they required further knowledge and education to increase levels of confidence in this area.

During training, midwifery students are educated and supported in providing emotional and psychological care to women during the postnatal period. Women often have increased psychological needs following childbirth as they adjust to parenthood (Fenwick et al, 2013), and midwives and midwifery students are well placed to assist women with this transition. However, there is some recent evidence that suggests that not all midwifery students are equipped with the skills and knowledge to support women during this time, and may lack confidence (Jarrett, 2015). This study focuses on midwifery students undertaking routine discussion of the birth experience with women.

Giving birth is generally seen as a positive, life changing event within Western culture. However, birth can also be a distressing and traumatic experience for some women. Psychological trauma, experienced during childbirth, may present post-birth as anxiety, mental health issues, and a reduced ability to build relationships with others (Fryer and Weaver, 2014; Bastos et al, 2015). It has become increasingly acknowledged that a woman's experience of childbirth can adversely affect her transition to parenthood (Daley-McCoy et al, 2015). Psychological trauma during childbirth may also affect the mother's ability to bond and care for her infant, reduce breastfeeding rates and may increase her risk of postnatal depression (Bell and Andersson, 2016).

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