The positive and negative experiences of social support during and after women’s pregnancy and the perceived benefits.
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Previous research has shown that pregnancy is an important time in many women’s lives, where women have both positive and negative experiences (Elsenbruch et al., 2006). Therefore, it is deemed very important that people gain more knowledge and understanding in to how each and every women experiences pregnancy (Carin, Lundgren & Bergbom, 2011). This is why the social support that women receive in pregnancy is so important (Glazier, 2004), as the support women receive from their partners, families, friends or professionals (Harley & Eskenazi, 2006) is vital in either improving or worsening a women’s experience (Boelen & Reijntjes, 2009). The aim of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of both the positive and negative experiences women may face in pregnancy due to their social support, and also what support they perceive as most beneficial to them, whilst also looking at how these experiences affected them both physically and emotionally. The study used a qualitative design, collecting data through the use of semi-structured interviewers, the interviews were then analysed using a thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). The results showed four themes; Negative feelings related with support, Positive impacts during and after pregnancy, Negative impacts during and after pregnancy and Beneficial support. The findings showed how each and every woman benefited from receiving some sort of social support during her pregnancy and beyond. Also, that no pregnancy will ever be the same and each woman has her own opinion of what support benefits her the most, even though it may be different to another woman’s opinion. There was a lack of different participants in this study, with many explaining their experiences from a married aspect. Due to this, future research would gain richer results if participants with different experiences of pregnancy were recruited, with a wider range of participants. For example, the experiences of married couples, single mothers or the experiences of same sex relationships during pregnancy.
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