“I felt like it would've been perfect, if they hadn't been rushing”: Black women's childbirth experiences with medical providers when accompanied by perinatal support professionals

This article was originally published here

J Adv Nurs. 2021 Jun 16. doi: 10.1111/jan.14941. Online ahead of print.


AIMS: This study examined the nature and characteristics of Black women’s interactions with medical providers during childbirth when accompanied by a perinatal support professional (PSP; similar to a doula).

DESIGN: The design was qualitative, and a phenomenological approach was employed to examine the meaning of women’s experiences.

METHODS: We conducted in-depth interviews with 25 Black women enrolled in a perinatal support program in Cleveland, Ohio, in late 2017 and early 2018, exploring their interactions with medical providers, the meaning of their experiences, and the roles their PSPs played.

RESULTS: Clients broadly categorized experiences as positive or negative. When medical providers respected them, their birth plans and/or collaborated with PSPs, women reported more positive experiences. They associated negative experiences with providers having their own timelines and agendas, and women perceiving their needs were unheard and/or disrespected.

CONCLUSION: The findings emphasize the need for medical providers to be patient-centred, set aside assumptions, treat their patients as experts, value women’s knowledge and voice, and treat patients and their supports as part of the team.

IMPACT: Findings support the importance of having a knowledgeable but non-medical support person present during birth. We discuss implications for how empowerment may be a tool to achieving better birth outcomes.

PMID:34137066 | DOI:10.1111/jan.14941