Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Mary Ann Thurkettle, PhD, RN; Mary-Rose Mueller, PhD, RN; Debra I. Craig, DNSc, RN


childbirth, cultural assessment, Latinos, Lived experience, nursing, United States, women


As the Latino community continues to grow in the United States, it is essential that cultural considerations be addressed, particularly in health care. Cultural assessment is of the utmost importance when trying to understand the phenomena of childbirth. Childbirth is one of the most significant events in a woman's life. It is complicated when giving birth in a country other than one's own. Therefore, it is crucial to comprehend and appreciate how culture influences the birth experience. Nurses play an essential role in assisting women of diverse cultures to fulfill their expectations regarding traditions, beliefs, and practices regarding childbirth. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the meaning of the lived experience of childbirth of Latina women giving birth in the United States. The inclusion criteria consisted of Latina women vaginally delivering their first child. A purposive sample of 12 participants was selected until the point of redundancy. Participants were approached within 48 hours after delivery. Interviews were audio taped-recorded and then transcribed. Observational notes and demographic data were recorded. Each mother was asked to verbally respond to the following statement/questions: (a) Tell me about your recent childbirth experience, (b) What did the childbirth experience mean to you? (c) What did it mean to you giving birth in the United States? Further probing questions emerged as the interviews progressed. van Marten's phenomenonological method was used as the framework for data analysis. Transcripts were coded and reviewed for themes and patterns. All interviews were conducted in Spanish and analyzed in both Spanish and English. In addition, findings were validated across respondents through member validation conducted at the end of the data collection phase. Analysis resulted in three essential themes, Cultural Adaptation, The Unfamiliar Journey in a Foreign Land, and Confirmation of Choice. Significant to the essential themes are the seven incidental themes of Cultural Differences, La Familia (Support based on culture), Spirituality, Emotions of Labor, Timeliness of Labor, The Ultimate Reward, and Realization of Motherhood. The meaning of the Latina woman's experience of giving birth in the United States involved the dimensions of adapting to the North American culture and living through the process of labor, which culminated with the affirmation of her choice of giving birth in the United States.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons