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Title: Narrative accounts of women who use complementary and alternative medicine in pregnancy : 'forewarned, forearmed and relaxed'
Author: Mitchell, Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 8306
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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Pregnancy and childbirth are events of major significance in women’s lives. In western countries women are increasingly using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) (see glossary of terms) during this time. However, there is little research exploring and minimal empirical evidence to judge the significance and impact of CAM on pregnancy and childbirth. This thesis explores the experiences of women who use CAM during pregnancy and childbirth in an attempt to understand the meaning they ascribe to CAM use. A narrative approach was chosen to explore women’s experiences of CAM as it emphasises the meaning that individuals ascribe to life events (Czarniawska 2004, Elliott 2005). Additionally, through narratives it is possible to learn about the world of individuals, about their lives and their experienced reality (Engel et al. 2008). A purposive sample of 14 women who had used a variety of complementary therapies during pregnancy and childbirth participated in the study. Women’s narratives were obtained through open ended interviews on two or three occasions. The narratives were analysed using a 5 stage process. The words of one participant eloquently portrayed the significance and meaning of CAM use as one of being ‘Forewarned, Forearmed and Relaxed’. These words then became a framework to re-present participants’ narratives. Beck’s (1992a) and Giddens’ (1990) concept of risk and reflexivity provides a theoretical framework to aid interpretation of the data. The study findings offer insights into how CAM meets women’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs during pregnancy and childbirth. CAM use signifies women’s desire to achieve a normal birth without medical intervention, a need to make choices and be in control of their healthcare practices and a desire to enjoy their pregnancy and birth without fear.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: narrative accounts ; women ; complementary and alternative medicine ; pregnancy