Monash University
20170119-Jahlan-Thesis-.pdf (5.12 MB)

Perspectives on Birthing Services in Saudi Arabia

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posted on 2017-02-07, 05:16 authored by Ibtesam Jahlan
The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has recently announced its vision for 2030. This vision is organised into a number of themes: a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation. The vision highlights the goals to be achieved by that year. One of the key goals is improving the quality of health services delivered to the community from the capacity of a developing country to the level of a modern economy.

   The research presented in this thesis can be considered a first step in improving the quality of maternity care, through its examination of the birthing services currently prevailing in KSA. The aim is to uncover the perspectives of birthing services by women, clinicians and administrators in Saudi Arabia, to explore the current services, identifying care delivered now in KSA and what is needed in the future. This was accomplished by exploring the perspectives of women who receive care and clinicians and administrators who provide care and where the literature is virtually silent.
   This thesis presents the findings of 300 questionnaires completed by women prior to their discharge from hospital, describing their perceptions of birthing and their satisfaction with the birth care they received. Further, the findings of questionnaires completed by 59 obstetricians and 79 nurses and midwives are reported. The questionnaires were designed to collect both quantitative and qualitative data, and were collected in specialised maternity hospitals in three cities in Saudi Arabia: Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. Qualitative data gathered in this study also included three interviews conducted by the researcher with a nursing director from each hospital.
   There were a number of important findings: first, that women’s satisfaction and perception of control during birth is associated with the presence of supportive, cooperative clinicians who are good listeners, as well as with the women’s active participation in decision making related to the birth. Women’s birthing experiences were also improved when their pain was managed well and when they received individualised, up-to-date, evidence-based birthing care. The study revealed that there is a gap between clinicians’ and women’s perceptions of their care, suggesting that clinicians need more support from administrators to deliver safe, evidence based practice care and meet women’s expectations.
   The findings are likely to contribute to an improvement in birthing services and midwifery practice in Saudi Arabia. In particular, the study draws attention to closing the gap between women’s and clinicians’ perceptions of safe and satisfying midwifery care and makes it of value to educators, researchers, clinicians, policymakers and administrators in the maternity health care system in Saudi Arabia.


Principal supervisor

Virginia Plummer

Additional supervisor 1

Meredith McIntyre

Additional supervisor 2

Salma Moawed

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Campus location



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences

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    Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Theses



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