A Case Study of the Effects of a Sibling-Attended Birth
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Sibling-attended birth has been recognized as an option for families to promote attachment and positive family and sibling relationships. Although the short term effects have been studied, little is known about the long-term effects to the sibling and the extended family. his study explored how sibling participation in the birth process affects attachment, sibling relationships and family relationships. The following questions were developed for the study: (1) What thoughts, feelings and perceptions does a family who has had a sibling present at birth have regarding the birthing experience? (2) How do family members perceive the sibling-attended birth as different than a birth siblings do not attend? (3) How do family members perceive the sibling-attended birth experience has affected attachment, sibling relationships, and family relationships? and (4) What nursing interventions and support measures would family members recommend to health care professionals to enhance the birth experience for the entire family? A qualitative case study design was employed to explore the thoughts, feelings and perceptions of a family who had experienced a sibling-attended birth. This case study was an in-depth investigation of a family nearly two years after the birth of the youngest sibling. The family for this study consisted of a mother and father, their three living children, and the maternal and paternal grandparents of the children. The oldest child was present at the birth of the youngest child nearly two years prior to interview. The data collection instrument utilized assisted in obtaining descriptive data from audiotaped focused interviews with the subjects. Through taped interviews, the researcher and subjects explored aspects of the sibling-attended birth experience that were important to the family. The data were then analyzed to discover themes or patterns to understand the effects of a sibling-attended birth process. The conceptual framework of attachment was used to understand the effects of sibling-attended birth. Conceptual themes that were identified were inclusion, exclusion, preparation and values. The themes emphasized thoughts and feelings about family unity, shared experiences, fear, concern, maturity, gentleness, kindness and modesty. Major implications for advanced nursing practice include providing relevant education to childbearing families about sibling-attended births, preparing grandparents and siblings as well as parents, helping the sibling feel welcome at the birth and encouraging interaction among family members to enhance sibling attachment and positive family relationships. In addition, understanding the concept of attachment can be viewed as significant in expanding nursing's body of knowledge.
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