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Professional and social support for first-time mothers and partners during childbearing
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ. CHILD.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3347-482x
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: Expecting a child and becoming a parent is one of life’s major events, during which the parents’ perspective on life and their couple relationship changes. For some parents, childbearing entails a decrease in parental couple relationship quality. The way in which parents are able to cope with childbearing may be connected with their Sense of Coherence; which is a person’s ability to perceive life as comprehensible, manageable and meaningful. For parents’ positive childbearing experiences, professional and social support have been proven to be valuable. However, far from all parents have access to social support; furthermore, professional support does not always meet the needs of expectant parents. Hence, more research is needed to increase knowledge about expectant parents’ experiences of professiona land social support. In addition, more research is needed to explore factors associated with quality of couple relationship among parents during childbearing.

Aims: The overall aim of the thesis was to explore professional and social support for first-time mothers and partners during childbearing in relation toquality of couple relationship and Sense of Coherence.

Methods: The study’s designs were explorative, prospective and longitudinal; both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. Specifically, explorative designs, qualitative methods and phenomenographic analysis were used to explore expectant first-time mothers’ (I) and partners’ perceptions of professional support (II). Furthermore, an explorative design, qualitative method and qualitative content analysis were used to explore expectant first-time mothers’ experiences of social support (III). Within Study IV, a prospective longitudinal design, descriptive statistics, non-parametric tests and multiple linear regression analysis were used to evaluate factors associated with quality of couple relationship among first-time mothers and partners, during pregnancy and the first six months of parenthood.

Results: The overall results of the thesis revealed both similarities and differences between expectant first-time mothers’ and partners’ perceptions of professional support, effects from social support and associated factors with perceived quality of couple relationship. The similarities were; both mothers and partners perceived that professional support could facilitate partner involvement, influence their couple relationship and facilitate contacts with other expectant parents. According to first-time mothers’ experiences, their couple relationship with their partner was also strengthened by social support during pregnancy. Further, the results showed that both first-time mothers’ and partners’ higher perceived couple relationship quality six months after birth, was associated with their higher perceived social support. The results showed also that both mothers and partners perceived their quality of couple relationship to decrease and Sense of Coherence to increase six months after childbirth, compared to the pregnancy. Differences revealed were such as: higher Sense of Coherence was only associated with mothers’ higher perceived quality of couple relationship, and first-time mothers reported perceiving more social support compared to the partners both during pregnancy, first week and six months after childbirth.

Conclusions: Professional and social support can strengthen first-time mothers and partners both individually and as a couple, in their abilities to cope with childbearing. On the individual basis, the expectant parents could be strengthened through professional and social support that contributed to their understanding and feeling of being prepared for childbirth and parenting, for instance. As a couple, the parents were strengthened by professional support that included the partner’s role, as well as higher perceived social support overall. In contrast, lack of support could have a negative influence on the expectant parents’ feeling of being prepared for childbirth and parenting. Besides this, the results indicates that childbearing has a positive effect on parents’ abilities to cope with life even though their quality of couple relationship decrease. Professionals can use these results in their further understanding about how to offer satisfactory support to first-time mothers and partners during childbearing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare , 2018. , p. 108
Series
Hälsohögskolans avhandlingsserie, ISSN 1654-3602 ; 086
Keywords [en]
Pregnancy, Childbirth, Couple Relationship, Parent, Father, Co-mother, Sense of Coherence
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-38334ISBN: 978-91-85835-85-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-38334DiVA, id: diva2:1170624
Public defence
2018-02-02, Insikten, Portalen, Kanikegränd 3, Skövde, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-01-04 Created: 2018-01-04 Last updated: 2018-01-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. “It's like a puzzle”: Pregnant women's perceptions of professional support in midwifery care
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“It's like a puzzle”: Pregnant women's perceptions of professional support in midwifery care
2016 (English)In: Women and Birth, ISSN 1871-5192, E-ISSN 1878-1799, Vol. 29, no 6, p. e110-e118Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Problem

Pregnant women are not always satisfied with the professional support they receive during their midwifery care. More knowledge is needed to understand what professional support pregnant women need for childbirth and parenting.

Background

Childbearing and the transition to becoming a parent is a sensitive period in one's life during which one should have the opportunity to receive professional support. Professional support does not always correspond to pregnant women's needs. To understand pregnant women's needs for professional support within midwifery care, it is crucial to further illuminate women's experiences of this support.

Aim

To explore pregnant women's perceptions of professional support in midwifery care.

Methods

A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. Fifteen women were interviewed during gestational weeks 36–38. Data was analysed using phenomenography.

Findings

The women perceived professional support in midwifery care to be reassuring and emotional, to consist of reliable information, and to be mediated with pedagogical creativity. The professional support facilitated new social contacts, partner involvement and contributed to mental preparedness. The findings of the study were presented in six categories and the category Professional support contributes to mental preparedness was influenced by the five other categories.

Conclusion

Pregnant women prepare for childbirth and parenting by using several different types of professional support in midwifery care: a strategy that could be described as piecing together a puzzle. When the women put the puzzle together, each type of professional support works as a valuable piece in the whole puzzle. Through this, professional support could contribute to women's mental preparedness for childbirth and parenting.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016
Keywords
Professional support, Midwife, Pregnant, Women, Childbirth
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-30680 (URN)10.1016/j.wombi.2016.04.011 (DOI)000393092900003 ()27199171 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84967104270 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-06-20 Created: 2016-06-20 Last updated: 2018-01-04Bibliographically approved
2. 'To be able to support her, I must feel calm and safe': Pregnant women's partners perceptions of professional support during pregnancy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>'To be able to support her, I must feel calm and safe': Pregnant women's partners perceptions of professional support during pregnancy
Show others...
2017 (English)In: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, ISSN 1471-2393, E-ISSN 1471-2393, Vol. 17, no 1, article id 234Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Professional support does not always meet the needs of expectant fathers or co-mothers. The way in which professional support is offered during pregnancy varies internationally, depending on the country. In order to attain a greater understanding of partners' experiences of professional support, it is necessary to further illuminate their perceptions of it. The aim of this study was therefore to explore pregnant women's partners' perceptions of professional support during pregnancy.

Methods: Qualitative research design. Partners of pregnant women were interviewed during gestational week 36-38. Individual semi-structured interviews were used to explore the partners' perceptions. The data was analysed using a phenomenographic approach. The study was performed in a county in south-western Sweden; the data collection was conducted from November 2014 to February 2015. Fourteen partners (expectant fathers and co-mothers) of women who were expectant first-time mothers with singleton pregnancies, were interviewed.

Results: The findings of the study are presented through four descriptive categories: Ability to absorb adequate information; Possibility to meet and share with other expectant parents; Confirmation of the partner's importance; and Influence on the couple relationship. Using a theoretical assumption of the relationship between the categories showed that the fourth category was influenced by the other three categories.

Conclusions: The partners perceived that professional support during pregnancy could influence the couple relationship. The partners' ability to communicate and to experience togetherness with the women increased when the expectant couple received professional support together. The support created also possibilities to meet and share experiences with other expectant parents. In contrast, a lack of support was found to contribute to partners' feelings of unimportance. It was essential that the midwives included the partners by confirming that they were individuals who had different needs for various types of professional support. The partners perceived it easier to absorb information when it was adequate and given with a pedagogic that made the partners become interested and emotionally engaged. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2017
Keywords
Childbirth, Comother, Expectant parent, Father, Mother, Partner, Phenomenography, Pregnancy, Professional support, Same-sex relationship, expectant father, female, human, human experiment, information processing, male, midwife, perception, pregnant woman, qualitative research, semi structured interview, Sweden, theoretical model
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-37216 (URN)10.1186/s12884-017-1411-8 (DOI)000405739400003 ()28716133 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85024102911 (Scopus ID)
Note

GOA HHJ 2017 / EE

Available from: 2017-09-07 Created: 2017-09-07 Last updated: 2018-01-04Bibliographically approved
3. ‘It makes you feel like you are not alone’: Expectant first-time mothers’ experiences of social support within the social network, when preparing for childbirth and parenting
Open this publication in new window or tab >>‘It makes you feel like you are not alone’: Expectant first-time mothers’ experiences of social support within the social network, when preparing for childbirth and parenting
Show others...
2017 (English)In: Sexual & Reproductive HealthCare, ISSN 1877-5756, E-ISSN 1877-5764, Vol. 12, p. 51-57Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keywords
Content analysis, Expectant, First-time, Mother, Pregnancy, Social support, Women
National Category
Psychology Nursing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-35271 (URN)10.1016/j.srhc.2017.02.007 (DOI)000401884100009 ()28477932 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85014870424 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-03-29 Created: 2017-03-29 Last updated: 2018-01-04Bibliographically approved
4. Quality of couple relationship among first-time mothers and partners, during pregnancy and the first six months of parenthood
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Quality of couple relationship among first-time mothers and partners, during pregnancy and the first six months of parenthood
Show others...
2018 (English)In: Sexual & Reproductive HealthCare, ISSN 1877-5756, E-ISSN 1877-5764, Vol. 17, p. 56-64Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Highlights

  • Social support is associated with first-time mothers’ and partners’ perceived quality of couple relationship six months after birth.
  • Sense of Coherence is associated with first-time mothers’ perceived quality of couple relationship six months after birth.
  • First-time mothers’ and partners’ Sense of Coherence increase between pregnancy and six months after birth.
  • Partners’ feelings for parenthood is associated with first-time mothers’ perception of quality of couple relationship six months after birth.
  • First-time mothers’ and partners’ perceived quality of couple relationship is decreasing after childbirth.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-38333 (URN)10.1016/j.srhc.2018.07.001 (DOI)000445980700011 ()30193721 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85049784672 (Scopus ID)
Note

Part of thesis in submitted manuscript form.

Available from: 2018-01-04 Created: 2018-01-04 Last updated: 2018-11-01Bibliographically approved

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