n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Being in a dilemma : experiencing birth in Zambia

Supplement 1
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


Numerous publications investigating childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa have overlooked the psychological and emotional elements that women experience, in favour of physical dimensions, such as maternal mortality. The aim of this study was to explore childbirth experiences, in order to better understand how women in Zambia experience and give meaning to the phenomenon. An interpretive phenomenological approach was utilised. Through purposive sampling methods, fifty birthing women, aged between 16 and 38 years, from all the nine provinces of the country were recruited. Unstructured in-depth interviews were conducted. Analysis uncovered six structures. The main focus of this paper is 'Being in a dilemma'. The selection of this structure reflects its general interest and predominance in data analysis. It entailed experiencing the phenomenon without knowledge of whom or what one was going to encounter. The key themes were: 1) choosing where to birth, and 2) choosing the advice to adhere to. The findings illuminated a need for an attitudinal change in maternity care professionals, and a parallel need to build agency and autonomy in women. It is this intrinsic level that is undermining attempts to reduce high maternal mortality in Zambia.

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