Pregnancy with gestational hypertension or preeclampsia: A qualitative exploration of women's experiences

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Midwifery, 2017, 46 pp. 17 - 23
Issue Date:
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© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Background Hypertension complicates 10% of pregnancies and involves specialised care of the woman and her baby, a longer stay in hospital, and an increased risk of physical and mental morbidity. There is limited research reporting the woman's perspective on her experience, how she coped with it psychologically, and whether the care she received influenced her experience. Aim To gain insight into women's experience of hypertension in pregnancy and to report on what mediating factors may help improve their experience. Methods A qualitative descriptive study was undertaken. Data were collected through a semi-structured, face to face interview at 10–12 months postpartum. In total, 20 women who had experienced hypertension in their pregnancy were interviewed. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Findings Four main themes were identified. These were: Reacting to the diagnosis, Challenges of being a mother, Processing and accepting the situation, and Moving on from the experience. The mediating factors that improved the experience were Feeling safe and trusting the care providers, Having continuity of care and carer, and Valuing social support from partner, family and friends. Conclusion The diagnosis of hypertension in pregnancy has a significant impact on women. This affects their pregnancy and birth experience and their pathway to motherhood. The implications of the findings for midwifery practice include having access to multidisciplinary continuity models of care and facilitating the support for these women.
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