RESEARCH PAPER
Experiences of Greek women of water immersion during normal labour and birth. A qualitative study
 
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1
Midwifery Department, Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
2
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Telford, United Kingdom
Publish date: 2018-07-12
Submission date: 2018-04-28
Final revision date: 2018-06-19
Acceptance date: 2018-07-05
 
Eur J Midwifery 2018;2(July):7
KEYWORDS:
TOPICS:
ABSTRACT:
Introduction:
There is scarce information on water births in Greece, as few women labour and give birth in water. The Greek public health system does not provide water immersion as a birthing option, and so women can only experience this option in private healthcare settings. The aim of this study was to explore the key concepts and themes identified from an analysis of the experiences of women who laboured and gave birth immersed in water.

Methods:
This was a qualitative study involving twelve women who used water immersion during labour, of which nine had also a water birth. Individual interviews were conducted and their content was analysed using thematic analysis.

Results:
Three main themes were identified: Water use as a natural way of birth, Mixed messages from the healthcare professionals, and Partner’s supportive role during water birth. All women reported a positive birth experience and water immersion helped them cope with the pain of labour. They felt greatly empowered following birth and this contributed to successful breastfeeding for more than one year, in the majority of cases. They reported difficulties in finding healthcare professionals that were in support of their choices. The women felt highly supported by the partner’s role.

Conclusions:
Labouring and giving birth immersed in water was met with great satisfaction by all women. The findings of this study have added to the current body of midwifery knowledge on how water immersion can improve a woman’s experience and so support a normal birth outcome.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
Angeliki Antonakou   
Midwifery Department, Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, Sindos, 57400 Thessaloniki, Greece
 
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