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Factors Associated With a Positive Birth Experience: An Exploration of Swedish Women’s Experiences
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology. (Internationell sexuell och reproduktiv hälsa/Larsson)
Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.
Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.
Griffith Health Institute, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Logan Brisbane, Australia and Gold Coast Hospital.
2013 (English)In: International journal of childbirth, ISSN 2156-5287, Vol. 3, no 3, 153-164 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


The birth of a baby is a powerful life event that has implications for a woman's wellbeing and future health. A positive birth experience promotes a sense of achievement, enhances feeling of self-worth, and facilitates confidence—all of which are important for a healthy adaptation to motherhood and psychological growth. Understanding what constitutes a positive birth experience is critical to providing maternity care that meets childbearing women's individual needs, preferences, and priorities.


To explore the prevalence of Swedish women reporting a very positive birth experience 2 months and 1 year after childbirth and identify factors associated with this experience. In addition, the study aimed to identify whether women's assessment of their birth experience changed over time.


A prospective, longitudinal study where the main outcome variable was perceptions of a very positive birth experience. The study was undertaken in a Northern region of Sweden in 2007. Women were recruited at their ultrasound examination in midpregnancy. Data was collected via questionnaires. There were 928 women who responded to questions about their birth experience at 2 months postpartum. Nearly 83% of these women (n = 763) also completed the questionnaire package 1 year after birth. Descriptive statistics were used together with Friedman's test to detect changes over time. Logistic regression analysis was performed to reveal which factors contributed most to a very positive birth experience.


More than a third of the women reported a very positive birth experience. Women's assessment of birth changed over time with 22% of the women becoming more positive and 15% more negative. Important associated factors for a very positive birth experience included positive feelings about the approaching birth as well as feeling in control, using no or only cognitive forms of pain management, and achieving a spontaneous vaginal birth. Furthermore, how women rated their midwifery care was also shown to affect their assessment of their birth experience.


This study found that women's birth experiences changed over time and most becoming more positive after 1 year. Factors associated with a very positive birth experience were related to women's prenatal attitudes, intrapartum procedures, pain relief used, and care received during labor and birth. Respectful individualized midwifery care that remains focused on the woman and keeping birth normal increases positive perceptions of the birth experience.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 3, no 3, 153-164 p.
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-215034OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-215034DiVA: diva2:685894
Available from: 2014-01-10 Created: 2014-01-10 Last updated: 2014-11-18Bibliographically approved

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