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Title: Never the same as before : women's experiences after childbirth
Author: Biggerstaff, Deborah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 1733
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the phenomenology of women’s experiences and perceptions in the first 18-24 months after childbirth. Close engagement with participants’ narratives enables women’s voices to be heard in the sometimes conflicting discourses about motherhood while identified issues in postnatal care issues are examined. Healthcare policy identifies the need for service improvement and reconfiguration of service delivery is well documented. However, a paucity of empirical knowledge remains with little explanatory theory, from women’s perspectives, about new mothers’ experiences during this period. Becoming a mother engenders a perceptual shift, or psychological re-negotiation, with being-in-the-world. Greater understanding of these issues is therefore central to inform effective service provision. Women’s perceptions of their care and their narratives about their individual perspectives, experiences and feelings following childbirth are explored. A case-study research approach provides rich data from in-depth interviews analysed using phenomenology (IPA). The study, conducted in parallel with an RCT, offers evidence of how participants (N = 12) discuss their engagement with the world. The phenomenological examination of mothers’ lived-world experiences, their life-world, provides a wealth of data. Responses are equivocal, highlighting the importance of being determined when seeking care at a time when mothers felt vulnerable. Participants report coping with events by drawing on their experiences and knowledge acquired caring for their families. Mothers identify how professionals need to develop greater awareness of the importance of enhancing listening skills in order to help women effectively. Themes of vulnerability, disempowerment and doubts about their abilities emphasise participants’ need for compassion, kindness and understanding. Support during delivery and positive postnatal experiences can lead to improved physical and emotional health; lack of support can impact on physical and psychological morbidity. The thesis highlights how postnatal care remains a Cinderella story. Greater awareness of such issues is emphasised to deliver quality postnatal care that is timely and non-threatening to avoid women feeling disempowered and belittled.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HQ The family. Marriage. Woman ; RG Gynecology and obstetrics