Purpose: Policies regarding childbirth in Jordan currently exclude attendance by a female relative to provide support. This study was done in order to describe the experience of a group of Jordanian women who had been afforded support from a female relative during a nursing research project.
Design and methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 25 women at 6 weeks postpartum. All of the women had given birth at the main hospital in the southern region of Jordan.
Findings: Women had positive experiences with their female relative support. Four themes were identified as common to the women involved: (1) increased sense of security, (2) provision of physical help, (3) communicating the woman's needs/wishes to her professional caregivers, and (4) emotional support and encouragement.
Clinical implications: The results show that the support of a female relative was helpful for this small group of Jordanian women experiencing their first labor and birth. Since the literature clearly shows that support in labor is appropriate and produces improved outcomes, public health practitioners in maternal and child health, along with hospitals, should emphasize this as a valuable resource for pregnant women. Non-Western or developing countries could benefit from more fully using evidence currently in the literature on a range of practices, including that of emotional and social support in labor.