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A Case Study of Low-Risk Women's Perceived Decision-Making for Induction of Labour

Wrightson, Jennifer (2016) A Case Study of Low-Risk Women's Perceived Decision-Making for Induction of Labour. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the question: ‘What are low-risk women’s perceptions of the influences that affect their decision-making regarding induction of labour?’ A qualitative case study method within the interpretive paradigm, guided by a feminist theoretical framework, explored the perspectives of both women who had recently birthed by induction, and midwives, within a South West Australian regional maternity unit.

The study was conducted in two phases. Phase one involved purposeful sampling of low-risk women (n = 18), while phase two employed convenience sampling of midwives (n = 10) by advertising for volunteers working within the maternity unit. Multiple data collection methods were used, including interviews, field notes and documentary information.

Thematic analysis of data from the low-risk women identified five themes: perceived health risks to themselves and their baby; fear of the childbirth experience; seeking support for themselves and their baby; shared decision-making related to induction; and adequacy and timeliness of information on which to base decisions. Three themes emerged from the data related to the midwife participants: having limited influence over women’s induction decisions; empathy for the constraints that limited women’s decision-making; and concerns relating to the appropriateness of information influencing women’s decisions. A comparison of the findings revealed three common themes: balancing risk with the choice to have an induction; the influence of contextual constraints on decision-making; and ensuring that timely, appropriate and adequate information is available for decision-making.

Women’s perspectives are essential to inform the development of induction guidelines in midwifery practice. This study’s findings provide many new insights relating to women’s perceived influences on their decision-making, including the effects of personal, socio-cultural and contextual factors. Recommendations for further research, policy development, midwifery practice and education include an investigation of consistent decision-making tools, the development of induction guidelines, a variety of facilitator-led antenatal education and increased antenatal midwifery contact.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Nursing & Midwifery
Supervisor(s): McMurray, Anne and Fetherston, Catherine
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