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Title: Exploring the experience of mothers bonding with their infants following a maternal diagnosis of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) during pregnancy
Author: Willcocks, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 1919
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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Women face a number of physical, emotional and psychological challenges following an HIV positive diagnosis during pregnancy. Psychological challenges, such as maternal anxiety and low mood, have been associated with disruptions to mother-infant bonding in the general population. Despite significant numbers of women receiving an antenatal HIV diagnosis in the UK each year, there remains a limited understanding about the experiences of this group in bonding with their babies. This Grounded Theory study aimed to explore the experience of mothers in bonding with their baby following an HIV diagnosis during pregnancy. The study explored the perceived challenges to mother-infant bonding, and the factors mothers felt helped them to manage this process following diagnosis. Ten mothers diagnosed antenatally at a London sexual health service were interviewed about their experiences. Data analysis led to a theoretical model of mother-infant bonding following a maternal HIV positive maternal diagnosis. The model comprised four theoretical codes: facing barriers to bonding; feeling disconnected from the baby; developing a special bond; and strengthening and moving on. These codes were comprised of challenges to mother-infant bonding, as well as factors relating to maternal strength and resilience. The model used a chronological structure, with processes plotted from the point of antenatal diagnosis through to following the infant HIV testing process after birth. Challenges with bonding were experienced primarily during the early stages after birth, with maternal resilience and positivity about the future developing towards the end of infant testing. Circular relationships, in which positive and negative processes fed into and influenced each other, were highlighted throughout. The findings highlight important areas for development in clinical practice, including more targeted psychological support for women following an antenatal diagnosis, and the provision of timely information regarding mother-to-child transmission. Clinical implications from this study are discussed alongside suggestions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: mothers ; bonding ; child ; infant ; Human Immunodeficiency Virus ; HIV ; pregnancy;