Research Output
A qualitative exploration of the experiences of clinically very severely obese women during pregnancy and the postnatal period
  Very severe maternal obesity (BMI >40kg/m2) increases significantly the risks of poor pregnancy outcomes for both mothers and babies. In light of the limited success of behavioural interventions to date in improving outcomes in very severely obese women, this study sought to gain an understanding of women’s beliefs and experiences regarding weight, health and pregnancy, within the context of their everyday lives.
Qualitative serial interviews were conducted with eleven very severely obese women during pregnancy and the postnatal period. Seven partners of the women took part in one semi-structured interview during the woman’s pregnancy. Analysis took place in several stages using a thematic approach. Themes were identified within and between individual women’s accounts, as well as within and between the accounts of members of couples. Participants’ narratives demonstrated the ways in which they navigated the experience of high-risk pregnancy, and stigma emerged as a key theme.
This research contributes new knowledge about the complex ways in which women experience ‘very severe obese’ pregnant embodiment, relating to both formal and informal discourses around weight and health in pregnancy. Most undertook ‘moral accounting’ in response to stigma, and several accounts resonated with Monaghan’s (2006) categorisations of excuses, justifications, contrition and repudiation, in both accounting for their weight and in demonstrating their ‘fitness’ for pregnancy and motherhood. Following birth, high levels of motivation to enact behaviour change were expressed, in some cases alongside repudiatory accounting regarding the associated risks and the medicalisation of very severe obesity. Participants experienced a lack of formal healthcare support in the postnatal period. Future approaches to policy and practice should consider ways in which to engage women and partners during pregnancy, exploring ways which in which stigma can be acknowledged and neutralised, in order to provide support and advice during and after pregnancy and birth, and into parenthood.

  • Type:

    Thesis

  • Date:

    28 June 2018

  • Publication Status:

    Unpublished

  • Library of Congress:

    RG Gynecology and obstetrics

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    618 Gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics & geriatrics

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded

Citation

Keely, A. A qualitative exploration of the experiences of clinically very severely obese women during pregnancy and the postnatal period. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/1255699

Authors

Keywords

Pregnancy, Postnatal, Obesity,

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