Narratives of birth and the postpartum: analysis of the focus group responses of new mothers

Birth. 1993 Dec;20(4):204-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-536x.1993.tb00228.x.


Focus groups were conducted to encourage and examine women's frank discussions of the events surrounding their experiences of labor, birth, and the postpartum period. Transcripts of the tape-recorded narratives of 41 new mothers were analyzed and five themes were identified: loss of autonomy and control; unexpected physical pain of childbirth; unexpected emotional reactions; financial pressures; and the effects of support during labor and birth. Participants' perceptions shed light on and supplemented previous questionnaire and interview research on these topics. The survey results suggest ways to help improve women's birth experiences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Labor, Obstetric / psychology*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Postpartum Period / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Social Support