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

By Lorraine Tulman; Jacqueline Fawcett | Go to book overview

8
Looking Back at Childbearing:
Women's Expectations and
Recommendations

We regard pregnancy and the postpartum as times of considerable and often profound change to which women adapt in various ways. At six months postpartum, we asked the women who participated in our study to reflect back on the pregnancy and postpartum and compare the experience with their expectations. Their responses underscored the need to advise every woman that the childbearing experience is rarely what she expects it to be. In this chapter, we present our analysis of the women's recollections of their childbearing experiences, along with their recommendations for lifestyle adjustments that can facilitate adaptation during pregnancy and the postpartum.


REFLECTIONS ABOUT PREGNANCY

Reflecting back on their pregnancies, women varied in how their experiences compared with their expectations. Only a few (2%) of the women stated that they had no expectations about their pregnancies. One woman noted, [I purposely did not have a lot of expectations because I did not want to be disappointed.]

More than one quarter (29%) of the women in our study indicated that their pregnancies met their expectations. A multipara explained, [I think [this pregnancy] compared closely [to what I expected], probably because I had already been pregnant before and I knew what to expect. I didn't have any problems.]

Slightly more than one quarter (27%) of the women indicated that their pregnancies were easier than expected. One woman commented, [It was better than what I expected. I had no problems—it was a great pregnancy and a great delivery.] Elaborating, another women stated:

It was great; it was a lot easier [then I had expected]. It made a huge difference
not having a stressful job. I was happy, and I was doing things that made me

-135-

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