The childbirth and breastfeeding experiences of primigravidas who attended childbirth education classes

  • IB Segeel
  • D du Plessis
Keywords: childbirth, childbirth education, childbirth educator, primigravidas, birthing experience


Knowledge brings with it power, confidence and courage. It is important to prepare for childbirth not only physically, but also emotionally and psychologically. This research tells the story of the childbirth and breastfeeding experiences of the primigravidas who attended childbirth education classes. The objectives of the research were to explore and describe how childbirth education contributed to the birthing and breastfeeding experiences of the primigravidas, and to write guidelines for the childbirth educators to aid them in improving the childbirth education contents. Semi-structured, phenomenological interviews took place with women who met the selection criteria. Permission was obtained from the University of Johannesburg as well as a private hospital in Gauteng and informed consent was obtained from the women volunteering to participate in the research. Recorded interviews were transcribed and analysed using the technique by Tesch (in Creswell, 1994:155-156). The results showed that childbirth education and support reduces fear and helps women to cope better with labour. Lack of all the information leads to unrealistic expectations and may result in negative birthing experiences. Emotional support from the midwife in the hospital is important to the labouring women; therefore, it is important for the childbirth educator to work together with the midwives in the hospital in order to avoid disappointment and unmet expectations. Guidelines were written for childbirth educators, labour ward and maternity staff and midwifery practice.

Keywords: childbirth; childbirth education; childbirth educator; primigravidas; birthing experience

Health SA Gesondheid Vol. 11 (2) 2006: pp. 62-74

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848