Eaton, Emma (2014). What is a good birth? Using Q method to explore the diversity of attitudes about good birth. Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health, 28(3), 147-173.

Abstract: Birth literature reveals many perspectives about "good birth," and an investigation into a good birth is necessary because women and children are entitled to the experience that most supports their health as well as their psychological wellbeing and fulfillment. There exists a culture within maternity services of professionals working with apparently conflicting agendas, which may contribute to service user input being excluded. The objective of this study was to understand the viewpoints about "good birth" using a Q methodology approach. Seventeen participants, comprised of mothers, midwives, and obstetricians, completed online Q-sorts. Factor analysis revealed three factors, which were interpreted and named: 1) The quality of the relationship between the mother and her midwife or obstetrician and the importance of a safe outcome, 2) Personal and professional practice balanced with client-centered work and empowerment, and 3) Risk and expectations management as a way of valuing patient experience. Clinical implications for birthing professionals and psychologists are explored in the discussion. Research needs to highlight the variety of understandings of what constitutes a good birth, in order to increase collaborative working in maternity services.

Emma Eaton works in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, where she is on the board of directors both for an alternative mental health NGO (Second Opinion Society) as well as a women’s advocacy organization (Yukon Status of Women Council). She also works with women and their families both directly in private practice as well as through community projects and advocacy work.

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