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Title: The experiences of women from three diverse population groups of immediate skin-to-skin contact with their newborn baby following birth
Author: Finigan, Valerie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 818X
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2010
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This study was carried out in a well-established UNICEF Baby Friendly accredited maternity unit in a NHS trust in the North West of England. The culture within this trust was sensitive to the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding, upholding skin-to-skin contact as a fundamental component of breastfeeding success. The overall aim of the study was to explore women's experiences of immediate skin-to-skin contact with their baby, exploring the experiences of three diverse population groups of women (Bangladeshi, Pakistani and English). The study focused on uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact in the period that followed birth. In order to find out whether or not, skin-to-skin contact is both mother and baby friendly and whether it supports the early establishment of breastfeeding. If the women's experiences were positive or negative, their voices would be used to refute or support current core recommendations from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE 2006) and the United International Children's European Fund's practices to implement step 4 of the 'Baby Friendly' standards in all Trusts across the UK (UNICEF 2008). The standard has been implemented in the author's trust using an opt out approach to care. The study was qualitative and underpinned by interpretive phenomenology. Data was collected by means of tape-recorded diaries, video recording, photographs and semistructured interviews. Twenty-two participants' were engaged in the study: 11 English, 5 Pakistani, 5 Bangladeshi and I African. Purposive sampling was employed. Reflection was an important element of the research method and a reflexive diary was kept throughout Analysis was informed by Benner's (1995) work including transcribing tapes verbatim, identifying recurring themes and taking findings back to participants to gain the 'phenomenological nod'. Common themes were established. Skin-to-skin contact was reported as a positive experience during which women 'get to know their baby' and begin to 'respond to its needs'. The immediate 'gaze' that is demonstrated in the video data of this study and explored by women is of significance. Disgusting bodily secretions and birth have been held to be a barrier to skin-to-skin contact. Yet 'birth dirt and bodily fluids' were not abhorrent to this group of mothers, and both Pakistani and Bangladeshi women were able to contextualise this. Furthermore, the women in this study pointed out that their post-birth pain was lessened when they had intimate skin-to-skin contact with their newborn babies. The study findings support UNICEF and NICE recommendations to implement UNICEF standards into current maternity units, labour ward practices. Most women from within all three participant groups enjoyed skin-to-skin contact. The women suggested that it was a mother-baby-friendly experience in which relationships were forged and maternal confidence established. Furthermore, the study findings suggested current evidence that skin contact assists in early mother-baby attachment and in establishing early breastfeeding is supported. The unique contribution that this study brought to the fore is the shared experience of Bangladeshi and Pakistani women. Capturing the women's voices, where they reported experiences that went against received wisdom made a contribution to the evidence base.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available