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Psychosocial perspectives of high -risk pregnancies

Barbara Jane Sittner, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Pregnancy and the birth of a child are perceived by our society as anticipated joyous events. However, for those women who experience a high-risk pregnancy, there may be alterations in personal, family and community life. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact a high-risk pregnancy has on the family and to identify family strengths that help families effectively manage this difficult time. ^ This qualitative research study used case study procedures and techniques to identify themes related to a patient's psychosocial issues during a high-risk pregnancy. The participants were purposely selected to examine the psychosocial impact a high-risk pregnancy has on the family and to assess their family strengths. ^ The purposive sample included eight informants with differing high-risk obstetrical health issues and family situations who were receiving healthcare from a Maternal-Fetal-Medicine physician at a midwestern community hospital. Their medical high-risk diagnosis included multiple gestation (two sets of triplets and one set of twins), one with preterm labor, two with premature rupture of membranes, and one woman who was referred to the physician due to a fetal anomaly. ^ Data collection for this study included semi-structured, one-on-one audiotaped interviews, observations, and a biographical profile completed by the participant. Internal and external validity checks were employed. ^ The study identified three themes associated with psychosocial perspectives in a high-risk pregnancy. The themes include: (a) mixed emotions; (b) adjustment and support; and (c) informative care. In addition, qualities from the family strengths model were compared to the clustered codes of the open-ended interview question, “Tell me about yourself and family.” The qualities of a strong family, according to Stinnett and DeFrain (1985) are commitment, appreciation and affection, positive communication, enjoyable time together, a sense of spiritual wellbeing, and the ability to effectively manage stress and crisis. The most common family strength quality identified in this study was the ability to effectively manage stress and crisis followed by commitment, appreciation and affection, a sense of spiritual wellbeing and enjoyable time together. The least common strength identified was positive communication. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynecology|Psychology, Social

Recommended Citation

Sittner, Barbara Jane, "Psychosocial perspectives of high -risk pregnancies" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3055290.