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West African Birthing Perspectives

Principal Investigator: Wendy Hodsdon, ND

The experience of labor and childbirth is multidimensional relating to both outcomes and the physical and cognitive process of the event. Outcomes like maternal mortality and morbidity are commonly used markers of successful childbirth. Although less often used, subjective components of birth, such as a woman’s experience are also used to gauge the quality of childbirth.

There is a significant need in places like Ghana to improve upon the quality of services presently available. Previous research shows that women’s perceptions play a key role in informing researchers of the factors affecting a woman’s utilization of different healthcare choices. By understanding women’s experiences and preferences, we can better understand what is working in the current system and have a positive impact on women’s future obstetric care seeking behavior, utilization of services, and reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality.

This study aims to bring awareness to the importance of women’s experiences as a tool for improving obstetric care for similar populations in sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this study is to determine how and when different obstetric care models are utilized. All study participants will be asked to complete a demographic survey and a childbirth experience questionnaire. A subset of 15 study women will also participate in a short (30 minute) recorded interview.