Women's Health during and after Pregnancy: A Theory-Based Study of Adaptation to Change

By Lorraine Tulman; Jacqueline Fawcett | Go to book overview

2
Physical Health and Functional
Status During Pregnancy

Women's health during pregnancy has been studied primarily in terms of occurrences of obstetrical complications and worsening of pre-existing chronic illnesses (Cunningham, MacDonald, & Gant, 1997). Little is known, however, about the more subtle changes experienced by lowrisk pregnant women as they adapt during childbearing. In particular, no other investigators have, to date, tracked changes in physical energy, physical symptoms, and functional status, or closely examined the relations of physical energy and physical symptoms to functional status during the three trimesters of pregnancy. In this chapter, we present the part of our Theory of Adaptation During Childbearing that deals with functional status and two physical health variables—physical energy and physical symptoms—during pregnancy (Figures 2.1 and 2.2). In keeping with the Roy Adaptation Model and the available evidence from the literature, we proposed that functional status, physical energy, and physical symptoms would change from the first to the second to the third trimester of pregnancy (Figure 2.2 [A]). We also proposed that physical energy and physical symptoms would be related to functional status during each trimester of pregnancy (Figure 2.2 [B]).


ROLE THEORY AND FUNCTIONAL STATUS

Although some attention in the literature has been given to the process of, and factors influencing, attainment of the role of mother, little attention has been given to how childbearing influences the performance of other roles. In keeping with the Roy Adaptation Model (Roy, 1984), our conceptualization and definition of functional status is based on tenets of classical role theory. We view functional status as the action component of roles, that is, the performance of behaviors associated with roles. Drawing from the work of Goffman (1961) and Parsons and Shils (1951), Nuwayhid (1984) noted that role refers to the title given to the individual, as well as to the behaviors expected to be performed

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