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J Perinat Educ. 2012 Summer;21(3):178-85. doi: 10.1891/1058-1243.21.3.178.

Making friends at antenatal classes: a qualitative exploration of friendship across the transition to motherhood.

Abstract

This study explored how friendships made at antenatal classes preserve new mothers' well-being, postnatally. Eight women from the United Kingdom who had attended antenatal classes in the third trimester were interviewed following the birth of their first baby. Transcripts were analyzed using a constant comparative method. Findings suggest that friendships made at antenatal classes are not only unique but also support women's mental health and enhance self-efficacy because the women give and gain reassurance that their babies are developing normally. Such friendships may reduce demands on overstretched social and health-care services. Childbirth educators, midwives, and nurses can be encouraged to capitalize on the opportunity provided by antenatal classes to facilitate the formation of friendships that can help mothers to find "a new equilibrium."

KEYWORDS:

antenatal classes; friendship; motherhood; new mothers

PMID:
23730129
PMCID:
PMC3392600
DOI:
10.1891/1058-1243.21.3.178
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