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Social support during pregnancy with gestational diabetes mellitus: exploring post-natal women’ experiences

Akhter, Kalsoom (2015). Social support during pregnancy with gestational diabetes mellitus: exploring post-natal women’ experiences. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


Aims/objectives: The majority of the literature has focused upon treatments and screening routines for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM). However, knowledge about the importance and experiences of social support during pregnancy period is sparse. Social support not only affects health and well-being, but also influences pregnancy outcomes. The aims of this thesis were to 1) explore and understand importance, meaning and experiences of social support from post-natal women’ perspectives and 2) identify the sources and types of social support received/perceived during pregnancy with GDM.
Method: Twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted to gain an in-depth understanding about social support during pregnancy. Data were analysed using Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA).
Results: The findings demonstrated that women perceived the receipt of three distinct types of support. The most frequently mentioned types included: emotional support and the receipt of information/advice. Sources varied by type of support and most frequently included: HCPs and husbands/partners. This study also highlighted some of the unhelpful/disappointing experiences and recommendation to improve current services. Participants’ accounts of their experiences indicated that social support seemed to work as a protector/buffer to cope with their stressful life events, therefore improving/maintaining well-being, which represent the ‘Stress Buffering Model’ of the social support theory.
Conclusion: Examples depicting the content of each type of support and unhelpful experiences revealed mental health and diabetes care related issues that can inform clinic- based social support interventions or peer discussion forum in the presence of a HCP. Recognising the importance of social support could potentially be very important to health- care during pregnancy as it is a time when health promotion and prevention are of critical

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
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