Date of Award

Fall 12-3-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Lachel Story

Committee Chair School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 2

Dr. Janie Butts

Committee Member 2 School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 3

Dr. Susan Johnson

Committee Member 3 School

Health Professions

Committee Member 4

Dr. Bonnie Harbaugh

Committee Member 4 School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Abstract

The perception of control during childbirth has been widely studied in various setting and groups. Many factors have been found to aid or impede the perception of control for birthing women. Significance of that perception of control during childbirth has also been measured in past studies. This descriptive qualitative study advances the knowledge of the perception of control during childbirth and examines a population that has thus far been excluded. Four previously incarcerated women participated in semi-structured interviews about their experience of giving birth while incarcerated and their perception of control during that time. The women were from diverse backgrounds and varying gravidity and parity. Each woman delivered a viable infant while incarcerated. This research examined the perception of control for incarcerated women during their childbirth experience. Factors associated with control for non-incarcerated women from prior research were discussed during the interviews. Significance of these factors was also questioned during the interviews. The two major themes derived from the research were Being Controlled and Compulsory Support/Attended Solitude. With the development of federal policies for incarcerated women during pregnancy and childbirth, research that includes the perspective of those who the policies will affect the most is vital. While further research is needed on the perception of control during childbirth for incarcerated women, this study is a valuable foundation. Including previously incarcerated and currently incarcerated women in childbirth experience research will reveal ways to improve the carceral system and the healthcare system.

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