Objective: to understand expectations and experiences related to childbirth by primiparous women. Methods: descriptive and qualitative study that aplied Symbolic Interacionism as theorical framework. Data were colleted during workshops with the pregnant participants, and by semi-structured interviews carriedout before and after childbirth. Content analysis was used to anlyse the gathered information. Results: Eleven pregnant women and five postpartum women participated in the study. Two categories were identified: Childbirth: a remarkable experience; and Among expectations and experiences. Discussion: Meanings developed and modified by interactions with professionals and social networks were present during childbirth, in both expectations and reality. Conclusion: Experiencing childbirth can resignify cultural and social paradigms. Recognizing relational techniques can improve quality of care by the inclusion of the development of meanings and experiences.
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