Integrative Review: Women’s Perceived Birth Trauma, Healthcare Provider Actions and Implications for Nurses

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Tiana Marie Briglio

Abstract

Despite the best of intentions of healthcare providers, childbirth may not occur the way that a mother wishes, resulting in psychological birth trauma. Although risks for birth trauma related to characteristics of the mother and type of delivery are acknowledged, the culture surrounding labour and delivery is an important consideration. It is imperative that labour and delivery providers reflect on their own practices and how they contribute, both positively or negatively, to women’s birth experience. The purpose for this research was to explore the relationship between healthcare provider behaviours and women’s perceived birthing experiences. An integrative review methodology was utilized. A cornerstone article was identified and using the search engine features “cited by” and “similar/related”, two authors independently conducted identical search strategies resulting in 17 relevant titles. The titles were discussed to determine relevance to the review. The authors then independently critically appraised each article to establish a final of nine articles. The findings suggest that women’s perceived birth trauma resides on a spectrum and that healthcare providers are the guardians of women’s perceived birth experiences. It remains unknown if healthcare provider actions are the single contributor to women’s perceived birth trauma.Future research is warranted to explore birth trauma as it continues to negatively impact the lives of women and their families worldwide.

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