'Should I come in now?': A study of women's early labour experiences

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Authors: Cheyne, H.L., Terry, R., Niven, C., Dowding, D., Hundley, V. and McNamee, P.

Journal: British Journal of Midwifery

Volume: 15

Issue: 10

Pages: 604-609

ISSN: 0969-4900

DOI: 10.12968/bjom.2007.15.10.27341

In spite of the advice from midwives to stay at home for as long as possible after the perceived onset of labour, many women still present at hospital in the very early stages of labour. In this qualitative study, 21 women discussed their early labour experiences, and factors which influenced their decisions regarding when to go to hospital. The data were transcribed and analysed using latent content analysis. We found a combination of uncertainty, pain and anxiety influenced women's early labour decisions. While many felt they were coping well with their labour on admission, women often wanted to be in hospital 'just in case' and lacked the confidence to cope with labour at home. We suggest that the relationship between anxiety and timing of admission should be investigated further and that the value of midwifery support and reassurance in the latent and early stages of labour should not be underestimated.

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