Womens' labour and birth experiences in Greece: A cross-sectional study (2022)

Type of publication:Conference abstract

Author(s):Ioannidou M.; Antonakou A.; *Papoutsis D.

Citation:BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Conference: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists World Congress, RCOG 2022. London United Kingdom. 129(Supplement 1) (pp 220-221), 2022. Date of Publication: June 2022.

Abstract:Objective: We aimed to investigate womens' emotional status, labour and childbirth data, pain relief methods, satisfaction from the midwifery-obstetric team, and the nutrition methods of newborns in Greece. Design(s): We used a modified version of the validated Early Labour and Experience Questionnaire (ELEQ) to capture the experiences of women and events during their labour and childbirth. Method(s): The questionnaire consisted of 64 items and was posted online through the social media between March to May 2021. All women who had given birth were eligible for the study. Upon closure of the study period, statistical analysis was applied to the collected data. Result(s): A total of 3.127 participants responded to the online questionnaire. Increased intervention rates were recorded with 41.1% of participants having an induction of labour, 58.7% having an epidural analgesia and 33.5% a cesarean section. Only 37.6% of respondents reported a spontaneous onset of labor with no interventions at all and a normal vaginal birth. 42.8% of women reported attending prenatal classes, with these women experiencing higher rates of normal vaginal birth. Higher rates of breastfeeding were observed when women had attended prenatal classes and when their vaginal birth had a spontaneous onset of labor. Women who gave birth at home or in a private maternity hospital were more satisfied when compared to women delivering in public hospitals. Women who had a spontaneous vaginal birth had more positive emotions and greater satisfaction levels from their midwife and obstetrician when compared to an induced vaginal birth or a cesarean section. Conclusion(s): Women in Greece experience high rates of interventions during labour and childbirth, which seems to negatively affect their emotional state. Prenatal classes are important as they are correlated with higher rates of normal deliveries and exclusive breastfeeding. Further research is needed to identify the factors that affect womens' experiences during labour and childbirth within the Greek maternity healthcare system in order to improve and shape the current midwifery-obstetric care policy.

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