Sunday, May 30, 2010

Spirituality and Birth in the News

Just this week Lamaze International published a press release with the headline: New Data Show Connection Between Childbirth and Spirituality. They cited a study co-authored by Lynn Callister R.N., Ph.D., who happens to be a professor in the College of Nursing at BYU.

Lynn is a fantastic writer and has been studying the spirituality of birth in different cultures for more than two decades now. A few months ago, one of my collaborators discovered an article she wrote and made contact with her. She is a friend to this project and will hopefully be involved in our documentary on the spirituality of birth throughout the world. I can't wait to read the whole study, and I am glad that the Childbirth Education Community is taking notice. Hopefully the medical community will, too. Here is a quote from the Lamaze press release:

The just-published research shows that women across diverse cultures correlate having a baby with “growing closer to God.”

The study, published in the spring issue of the Journal of Perinatal Education, found that understanding the spiritual dimensions of childbirth is essential in clinical settings. As such, authors of the study recommend clinicians include the question, “Do you have any spiritual beliefs that will help us better care for you?” during their clinical assessment.

“Childbirth and motherhood provide many women with an ideal context in which to recognize the spiritual aspect of their lives,” said Lynn Clark Callister, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN, a professor of nursing at the Brigham Young University College of Nursing and study co-author. “Our research illustrates that for most women, childbirth is a deeply spiritual experience. As healthcare providers, we need to recognize and support this evidence, and listen to women’s voices to guide their care.”

In their study titled “Spirituality in Childbearing Women,” authors Callister and Inaam Khalaf, R.N., Ph.D., dean and professor of nursing at the University of Jordan Faculty of Nursing, discovered five themes in a secondary analysis of the published and unpublished narrative data collected over the past 20 years from about 250 culturally diverse women.

“This study is both insightful and intuitive,” said Sharon Dalrymple, president of Lamaze International. “It’s no surprise to see a woman’s spirituality is an important part of her well-being, but it’s interesting to consider how this information can be used by women and their healthcare professionals to enrich and further empower women when they are giving birth.”

The themes that emerged in the study included: childbirth as a time to grow closer to God, the use of religious beliefs and rituals as powerful coping mechanisms, childbirth as a time to make religiosity more meaningful, the significance of a Higher Power in influencing birth outcomes and childbirth as a spiritually transforming experience

To read the entire release, visit here.

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