Iranian Kurdish women’s experiences of childbirth: A qualitative study

Roonak Shahoei, Farangis Khosravy, Farzaneh Zaheri, Lila Hasheminasab, Fariba Ranaei, Kajal Hesame, Faranak Shahoei



Background: The experience of labor and birth, referred to as childbirth, is complex, multidimensional, and subjective, relating to both the outcome and the process that is experienced by an individual woman. The aim of this study was to describe the experience of childbirth among Kurdish women giving birth at Besat Hospital in Sanandaj, Iran.

Materials and Methods: A qualitative study was conducted using phenomenological approach. Women eligible for the study were recruited from the postpartum ward. Inclusion criteria were being an Iranian Kurdish woman, being nulliparous, and having vaginal childbirth. Data collection was performed between 2010 and 2011. Women were interviewed by the first researcher 6–12 weeks after they had given birth to their first child.

Results: All participants had spontaneous vaginal births without their husbands present. None of them received any analgesia or anesthesia during labor and birth. The findings are described under the following four themes: Feeling empowered, changing life, importance of being supported during labor, and the spiritual dimensions of giving birth.

Conclusions: Women communicate through telling stories and create meaning as they articulate their feelings about pivotal life events such as childbirth. The findings of this study provide a useful first step toward the identification of aspects of Kurdish women’s experience of giving birth. The women in this study identified that the presence or absence of effective support had a significant effect on their experience of labor and birth. It is important for midwives and other professionals to understand the benefits of support given for women during childbirth.

Key words: Childbirth, experience, phenomenology

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