The Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation in Queensland, Australia, seeks to empower pregnant women with the results of their recent research, reports Science Daily.
About 6,000 women were asked about their birthing experiences as part of the research led by Queensland University of Technology Associate Professor Yvette Miller, who partnered with the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to survey women over the course of a four-month timeframe. The results of the study were published on BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth.
Participants reported on what are considered to be the four aspects of a "normal" birth experience, which include "onset of labor, use of anaesthetics, mode of birth, and use of episiotomy." A "normal" birth, as stated in the study, was defined as an unassisted vaginal delivery without the need for induction of labor, epidural, general anesthetic, forceps to assist in the birth, or episiotomy.
Miller explained the purpose of the research survey.
"We do this kind of research primarily to give women the information they need to make informed decisions about their maternity care."Many women, Miller said, are simply not aware their choice regarding maternal care will directly influence both their labor and birth experiences. According to Miller, the choice of maternity care provider, along with a mother's choice of birth facility, positioning during labor and while the boy is being born, and how the baby is monitored while the mother is in labor, are all factors.
Of the 6,000 women who participated in the research survey, only 28.7 percent experienced a "normal" birth. Miller went on to explain the maternal care choices that influence the overall outcome of a mother's birthing experience.
Miller explained that women have a birthing experience free of medical interventions if they live outside of a major city, are able to freely move throughout their labor, and were able to receive continuity of care in both their labor and birthing experiences. Other associated factors include decisions such as not having the baby continuously monitored, not inducing labor, and not giving birth while lying flat.
"Our other research has shown that many women in Queensland are not informed or not involved in decisions about the use of medical procedures that can affect their birth experience and outcomes. Women are especially uninformed about how the type of maternity care they choose early on in their pregnancy can affect their chances of having the type of labor and birth they want."