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Qual Health Res. 2001 Nov;11(6):824-40.

Women's lived experiences of pregnancy: a tapestry of joy and suffering.

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  • 1Abo Akademi University, Vasa, Finland.


The phenomenological study of the lived experiences of pregnancy described in this article is part of a Finnish caring science research program. Eighty interviews with 40 women combined with nonparticipant observation were analyzed according to Colaizzi. Pregnant women wishing for a perfect child want to promote the health of their unborn baby, no longer take health for granted, and try to change their health behavior. Their altered mode of being involves body changes, variations in mood, and worries. The striving to achieve family communion is seen in the evolving significance of the baby; in dreams, hopes, and plans; and in changing relationships. In relation to Eriksson's ontological health model, the joy and suffering in pregnancy are based on being there for another. Taking seriously the women's experiences and the hidden questions that reveal suffering in both lay and professional caring might prevent the serious postpartum misery of motherhood.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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