A multidisciplinary evaluation, exploration, and advancement of the concept of a traumatic birth experience

Kuipers, Yvonne, Thomson, Gill orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3392-8182, Škodová, Zuzana, Bozic, Ina, Sigurðardóttir, Valgerður Lísa, Goberna-Tricas, Josefina, Zurera, Alba, Neves, Dulce Morgado, Barata, Catarina et al (2024) A multidisciplinary evaluation, exploration, and advancement of the concept of a traumatic birth experience. Women and Birth, 37 (1). pp. 51-62. ISSN 1871-5192

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2023.08.004


Background: Understanding a woman’s traumatic birth experience benefits from an approach that considers perspectives from various fields of healthcare and social sciences.
Aim: To evaluate and explore the multidisciplinary perspectives surrounding a traumatic birth experience to form a theory and to capture its structure.
Methods: A multidisciplinary advanced principle-based concept analysis was conducted, including the following systematic steps: literature review, assessment of concept maturity, principle-based evaluation, concept exploration and advancement, and formulating a multidisciplinary concept theory. We drew on knowledge from midwifery, psychology, childbirth education, bioethics, obstetric & gender violence, sociology, perinatal psychiatry, and anthropology.
Results: Our evaluation included 60 records which were considered as ‘mature’. Maturity was determined by the reported concept definition, attributes, antecedents, outcomes, and boundaries. The four broad principles of the philosophy of science epistemology, pragmatics, linguistics, and logic illustrated that women live in a political, and cultural world that includes social, perceptual, and practical features. The conceptual components antecedents, attributes, outcomes, and boundaries demonstrated that a traumatic birth experience is not an isolated event, but its existence is enabled by social structures that perpetuate the diminished and disempowered position of women in medical and institutionalised healthcare regulation and management.
Conclusion: The traumatic childbirth experience is a distinctive experience that can only occur within a socioecological system of micro-, meso-, and macro-level aspects that accepts and allows its existence and therefore its sustainability - with the traumatic experience of the birthing woman as the central construct.

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