What do we know about sibling attended birth? A systematic literature review

Nora Li Naber
1 November 2017


Naber, N. (2017). What do we know about sibling attended birth? A systematic literature review (A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the degree of Master of Midwifery at Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand) [PDF 1.208MB]


While common place in other cultures, the concept of sibling attended birth (SAB) first emerged in the western world in the 1970's as part of the natural childbirth movement. SAB today is not common and predominantly takes place during homebirths. Research undertaken in the field utilises a wide range of methodologies and addresses various aspects of the birth experience, with emphasis on the children's experience of birth. Most of the studies are somewhat dated and a large proportion is in the form of unpublished grey literature.

A systematic literature review was undertaken with the aim of informing future research and consolidating the existing findings into a body of knowledge to inform decision-making processes and guide midwifery practice throughout the SAB experience. An exhaustive literature search identified 29 relevant studies, of which 22 were included in this review. Studies were assessed for quality using the Crowe Critical Analysis Tool. Data analysis followed a narrative synthesis approach.

Findings were presented according to specific areas of interest relating to various aspects of the SAB experience, which were grouped under three overarching themes: preparing and planning for SAB, experiencing SAB and life after SAB. Discussion of the findings focuses on influencing factors of the SAB experience and highlights implications for midwifery practice as well as recommendations for future research.

Nora Li Naber's thesis was supervised by Suzanne Miller. 


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