Women’s experiences of childbirth in the Arab world

A systematic review was conducted and synthesis of qualitative and quantitative studies describing women’s experiences in birth and labour in the Arab world. Quality appraisal and data extraction were conducted for eleven selected studies by two authors independently. Selected studies for review: three quantitative and eight qualitative. The selected studies were conducted in different setting included Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen, and Israel. Two overarching themes were identified: women- centred delivery and the medicalisation of childbirth. A tension exists between the overarching themes. Medicalisation of childbirth with unnecessary technologies exists in direct opposition to women-centred and culturally sensitive care, where women are empowered and supported by midwives. To counter the hegemonic effects of medicalisation and technology over women’s experiences of childbirth, women’s experiences and subjective narrative accounts of childbirth should be considered as valid forms of evidence by health policy makers, midwives and other health professionals to achieve high quality maternity care.