Preprint of: Parratt, JA 1994, 'The experience of childbirth for survivors of incest', Midwifery, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 26-39.
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The purpose of this research was to discover what experiences, including feelings, women who are survivors of incest have during childbirth. The recognition that the childbirth experience may trigger memories of incest that will then alter the course of childbirth was the framework for the study.
This exploratory research was undertaken using a phenomenological approach. The six participants were obtained through networking and issues surrounding confidentiality and consent were of a high priority. The data consists of transcripts of taped, one to two hour, in-depth interviews. During interviews each woman recalled her experiences and feelings during and surrounding childbirth.
Qualitative analysis was undertaken, the findings indicating that memories of previous abuse may be provoked by childbirth but that it is a very individualised response. The effect of these memories on the childbirth experience is also variable but does occur. Privacy, control and touch are important aspects of these women's childbirth experiences. The results and interpretation of findings presented in this report centre around the labour and delivery experiences of the women. The variety of women's needs demonstrated in this project emphasise the importance of individualised care by midwives and doctors involved in the care of childbearing women.