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To challenge oneself as a childbearing woman—the lived experience of vaginal birth after caesarean section in Sweden

Journal article
Authors Ida Lyckestam
Ingela Lundgren
Christina Nilsson
Published in International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being
Volume 14
Issue 1
ISSN 1748-2623
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Language en
Keywords caesarean section, childbirth, experiences, phenomenology, VBAC, Women
Subject categories Other Health Sciences


© 2019, © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Purpose: There is a need to gain deeper knowledge about women’s experience of vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC). Considerable research has been conducted on VBAC; however, only a few qualitative studies focus on women’s experiences. Therefore, the aim of this study was to describe the lived experiences of VBAC among women resident in Sweden, a country with a high VBAC rate. Method: This studywas performed in accordance with a phenomenological reflective lifeworld approach. Interviews were conducted with nine women in an urban region of Sweden one year after their VBAC birth. Results: The essential meaning of the studied phenomenon is “to challenge oneself as a childbearing woman”, which is further described by its four constituents: “striving for support from professionals”, “desiring the experience”, “contrasting and comparing memories of two different births” and “being part of the birthing culture”. Conclusions: The experience of VBAC meant regained trust in the ability to give birth vaginally. The women lacked follow-up and support after the caesarean section (CS), during the subsequent pregnancy and the forthcoming VBAC. Enhanced support could be a key factor in helping women meeting the challenge and feel confident about giving birth vaginally despite their previous experiences of CS. Abbreviations: VBAC: vaginal birth after caesarean section; CS: caesarean section.

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