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Before and after: expectations and experiences of mothers concerning labour / O antes e o depois: expectativas e experiências de m es sobre o parto

Keywords: Pregnancy , labour , motherhood

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Abstract:

Labour represents an important event in a woman's life, having a deep impact on the physical, emotional and social domains. It is anticipated during pregnancy, in the woman's fantasies and will be relived in the mother's memories. The present longitudinal study investigated the expectations and the later report of the labour experience of 28 primiparous women, aged 20 to 37. Individual interviews were carried out during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy and 3 months after labour. Qualitative content analysis indicated that mothers reported, during pregnancy, both positive and negative expectations regarding herself and the baby during labour. As far as labour experience is concerned, there was a trend towards polarization, with some mothers reporting only positive feelings whereas others reported only negative ones. Supporting the initial expectation of the study, the results show that labour is an event which encompasses the whole process of pregnancy and postpartum having a deep impact on the mother's history.

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