‘To be Informed and Involved’: Women's insights on optimising childbirth care in Lithuania

Širvinskienė, Giedrė, Grincevičienė, Švitrigailė, Pranskevičiūtė‐Amoson, Rasa, Kukulskienė, Milda and Downe, Soo orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2848-2550 (2023) ‘To be Informed and Involved’: Women's insights on optimising childbirth care in Lithuania. Health Expectations . ISSN 1369-6513

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.13754


The user expectations and experiences of healthcare services are acknowledged as components of the quality of healthcare evaluations. The aim of the study is to analyse women's experiences and views on childbirth care in Lithuania.

The study used the Babies Born Better (B3) online survey as the data collection instrument. The B3 is an ongoing longitudinal international project, examining the experiences of intrapartum care and developed as part of EU-funded COST Actions (IS0907 and IS1405). Responses to open-ended questions about (1) the best things about the care and (2) things in childbirth care worth changing are included in the current analysis. The participants are 373 women who had given birth within 5 years in Lithuania. A deductive coding framework established by the literature review was used to analyse the qualitative data. The framework involves three main categories: (1) the service, (2) the emotional experience and (3) the individually experienced care, each further divided into subcategories.

Reflecting the experience and views regarding the service at birthplace women wished empowerment, support for their autonomy and to be actively involved in decisions, the need for privacy, information and counselling, especially about breastfeeding. In terms of emotional experience, women highlighted the importance of comprehensibility/feeling of safety, positive manageability of various situations and possibilities for bonding with the newborn. Individually experienced care was described by feedback on specific characteristics of care providers, such as competence, personality traits, time/availability and encouragement of esteem in women in childbirth. The possibilities of homebirth were also discussed. The findings reflected salutogenic principles.

Key Conclusions
The findings suggest that the Lithuanian healthcare system is in a transition from paternalistic attitude-based practices to a shift towards patient-oriented care. Implementation of the improvements suggested for women in childbirth care in Lithuania would require some additional services, improved emotional and intrapersonal aspects of care and a more active role for women.

Patient/Public Contribution
Patients and the public contributed to this study by spreading information about surveys and research findings through their involvement in service user groups that have an interest in maternity care. Members of the patients' groups and the public were involved in the discussion of the results.

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