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Table 1 Definition of variables

From: The paradox of vaginal examination practice during normal childbirth: Palestinian women’s feelings, opinions, knowledge and experiences

Variable Definition
  Feelings variables
Pain All terms/statements used by women to reflect pain feelings during VE such as: very/painful, burning, pain kicked out of my head, severe burning, irritation, poked, felt my flesh was torn, felt dying, breathless, suffocating, very/hard, lots of strain, I cannot handle it.
Discomfort All terms/statements used by women to reflect discomfort feelings during VE such as: very/annoying, afraid, fear, stressful, tired, I hate it, I don’t like it, no one likes it, easier when dilation is larger, bothering, not comforting.
Embarrassment All terms/statements used by women to reflect embarrassment feeling during VE such: embarrassing, disgusting, should be canceled, wish not be done at all, shame.
Assuring All terms/statements used by women to reflect assurance feelings towards VE such as: assuring, release, important, informs about dilation and time of delivery, softens cervix.
Others All terms/statements used by women to reflect feelings other than the above main 4 categories such as: usual, nothing, no choice, preference.
  Opinion variables
Beneficial Refers to terms/statements used by women to reflect benefits/indications of VE during childbirth as perceived by women, such as: important, must be done, necessary, good, reassuring, helps the woman when she has contractions, helps woman to give birth, causes dilation, increases contractions, helps me, for mother’s good.
Not necessary Refers to all terms/statements used by women to reflect that VE is unnecessary during childbirth as perceived by women, such as: no need, not necessary don’t like it, not important for me.
When necessary Refers to all terms/statements used by women to reflect that VE should be only done when indicated as perceived by women, such as: should be done but not too frequent, should be done only when needed, sometimes it is important and necessary, and sometimes there is no need, they (providers) decide if necessary or not.
  Knowledge variables
Correct responses All terms/statements used by a woman to reflect correct information/indication about VE and there was no incorrect information/indication in the woman’s response of this question. These were the responses that were considered correct: measures cervical dilation, checks progress of labor, checks fetal descent in the pelvis, checks readiness for delivery, checks amniotic membranes, to rupture amniotic membranes, checks real labor.
Partially correct responses There was at least one correct information/indication in the woman’s response for this question.
No correct response All terms/statements used by a woman to reflect not correct information/indication about VE and there was no correct information/indication in the woman’s response of this question. The followings were responses that were considered not correct: Makes/accelerates dilation, measures amount of water, assist in delivery, checks inflammation or soreness in the uterus, checks infection or vaginal diseases, checks birth defects, checks masses in the uterus after birth.
  Permission statement
Instruction statement Refers to all statements that were reported by women to reflect an instruction for physical self preparation or support given by providers before or during the exam, such as: prepare yourself for an internal exam, take off your clothes, take a deep breath, relax, be strong.
Information Refers to all statements that were reported by women to reflect information given by providers to women about the VE or the findings of the exam, such as: I will check you up internally, they told me how much I was dilated.
Complaint Refers to all statements that were reported by women to reflect a complaint from/related to the exam, such as: the door was open, they refuse to cover me up, they examined me directly without saying anything, they never said anything, I was screaming, I was in pain, sometimes they checked me several times close to each others, yelled at me.
Women request Refers to all statements that were reported by women to clearly reflect that the woman requested to be examined vaginally, such as: I asked them to examine me.