Opening up about birth: An autoethnographic account of prolonged labour

Petra Elias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A woman’s first pregnancy can be both emotionally exciting and daunting. There are many changes to make, but there is little emotional support to adjust to the role, the focus being on the physical process which is most often managed medically (Spear, 2008; Zasloff, Schytt, & Waldenström, 2007) though warnings about what could occur are not routinely told (Kaitz, 2007, pp. 720-721). This paper presents an autoethnographic story of first time pregnancy and the unfolding labour. The methodology of autoethnography is a useful tool for conveying stories of lived experience at a level of detail often previously unrecorded, evoking for the reader a powerful insight into sometimes very personal but universal human experiences. Utilising the tools of narration, autoethnography is a powerful device for conveying plot, character and events. This autoethnography provides the vehicle to juxtapose the joy and excitement of a first pregnancy and the plan for a natural delivery with a developing complicated labour and the ongoing difficulties of breast feeding, and concludes with some thoughts about how better to support first time mothers through the process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Pages (from-to)589-600
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Report: an online journal dedicated to qualitative research since 1990
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


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