A phenomenological study: the experience and meaning of being pregnant and on social assistance

Andrews, Jeanette (2000) A phenomenological study: the experience and meaning of being pregnant and on social assistance. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Pregnancy is an important time of physical and psychological adaptation for a woman. A large body of literature has reported on the association of numerous demographic and psychosocial factors, many of which are linked to poverty, with pregnancy outcomes. Although some study results have supported this correlation, many others have shown that this association decreases or disappears when controls for confounding variables are introduced. As a result, reviewers have suggested that more qualitative studies are needed to explore the meaning of pregnancy for women living in disadvantaged circumstances, especially poverty. -- This phenomenological study used van Manen's method to explore the question: What is the meaning of pregnancy in the lives of a group of eight women who are receiving social assistance? From the data collected in unstructured interviews, five themes were identified: (1) “settling in”—forging a meaningful balance; (2) giving recognition to disruptions and uncertainty; (3) living on the edge: emotional response to multiple stressors; (4) meaning of supports: facilitators of and barriers to adjustment; and (5) reflecting on the lived world. The essence of the experience was the search for acceptance. -- The findings show the experience of pregnancy cannot be separated from the context in which the experience is occurring. Supports play a critical role in achieving acceptance of the pregnancy and in dealing with other concerns, both financial and emotional. Care providers may contribute to this process if supportive assistance is offered in a caring, non-stigmatizing way.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10086
Item ID: 10086
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 100-107.
Department(s): Nursing, Faculty of
Date: 2000
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Poor women--Newfoundland and Labrador; Poor--Medical care--Newfoundland and Labrador; Pregnant women--Newfoundland and Labrador.
Medical Subject Heading: Poverty; Pregnancy; Women's Health.

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