Women’s autonomy in the process of labour and childbirth: integrative literature review

Thamiza Laureany da Rosa dos Reis Stela Maris de Mello Padoin Thayla Rafaella Pasa Toebe Cristiane Cardoso de Paula Jacqueline Silveira de Quadros About the authors



To identify the available evidence in scientific literature on healthcare practices that interfere with the autonomy of Brazilian women in the labour and delivery process.


The search for papers was conducted in the databases LILACS, Scopus and PubMed, between 1996 and 2015, according to a guiding question and exclusion criteria, resulting in the selection of 22 papers to compose the analytic body.


The main practices that favoured the exercise of women’s autonomy were out-of-hospital care practices; care practices of support and comfort; and educational care practices. By contrast, the practices that limited autonomy were authoritarian care practices; standardised or routine care practices; care practices that intensify the painful sensation of childbirth; and impersonal and cold care practice.


There was an alarming contrast between the daily healthcare routine and ministerial recommendations.

Women’s health; Obstetrics; Parturition; Personal autonomy; Patient preference; Decision making

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