Pregnancy and the maintenance of self-identity: implications for antenatal care in the community

Earle, Sarah (2000). Pregnancy and the maintenance of self-identity: implications for antenatal care in the community. Health and Social Care in the Community, 8(4) pp. 235–241.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2524.2000.00246.x

Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that many women prefer to receive their antenatal care in the community. This paper explores one explanation for why this may be the case. The paper is based on a qualitative study of 19 primagravidae, aged between 16 and 30 years, who were interviewed using the technique of repeated in-depth interviewing. The aim of the research was to explore the relationship between women's experiences of pregnancy and the maintenance of self-identity during this time. The research findings indicate that the relationship between the midwife and her antenatal patient can foster both a sense of similarity to others and a sense of personal uniqueness, which appear essential to the maintenance of self-identity during pregnancy. Good communication seems to be an essential tool for the community midwife, as it allows patients to normalise their experiences and yet feel that their experiences of pregnancy are unique. The findings indicate that continuity of care may be important in fostering a sense of similarity to others and that continuity of carer may be required to ensure uniqueness.

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