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Title: When choice becomes limited: women’s experiences of delay in labour
Authors: Armstrong, Natalie
Kenyon, Sara
First Published: 9-Dec-2015
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Citation: Health (London), 2015, 1363459315617311
Abstract: Choice and patient involvement in decision-making are strong aspirations of contemporary healthcare. One of the most striking areas in which this is played out is maternity care where recent policy has focused on choice and supporting normal birth. However, birth is sometimes not straightforward and unanticipated complications can rapidly reduce choice. We draw on the accounts of women who experienced delay during labour with their first child. This occurs when progress is slow, and syntocinon is administered to strengthen and regulate contractions. Once delay has been recognised the clinical circumstances limit choice. Drawing on Mol’s work on the logics of choice and care, we explore how, although often upsetting, women accepted that their choices and plans were no longer feasible. The majority were happy to defer to professionals who they regarded as having the necessary technical expertise, while some adopted a more traditional medical model and actively rejected involvement in decision making altogether. Only a minority wanted to continue active involvement in decision-making, although the extent to which the possibility existed for them to do so was questionable. Women appeared to accept that their ideals of choice and involvement had to be abandoned, and that clinical circumstances legitimately changed events.
DOI Link: 10.1177/1363459315617311
ISSN: 1363-4593
eISSN: 1461-7196
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2015. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium non-commercially, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Health Sciences

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