The Lived Experiences of Prenatal Stress and Mind-Body Exercises: Reflections of Post-Partum Women

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Karen S. Migl, MEd, PhD, RNC, WHNP-BC
School of Nursing, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX

Learning Objective 1: describe the lived experiences of prenatal stress among post-partum women who learned and practiced MBE as a stress-reducing techniques during their pregnancies.

Learning Objective 2: apply to nursing practice how post-partum women with MBE training describe their lived experiences using this stress-reducing technique during and after pregnancy.

Purpose: The overall goal of this study is to describe the lived experiences of prenatal stress and mind-body exercises among a diverse sample of post-partum women who previously learned and practiced stress-reducing techniques during their pregnancies.

Methods: Thirty participants were recruited; data saturation and redundancy was achieved with a sample size of 12.  Data collection was by interview. Recordings of interviews were transcribed and later analyzed using the four-step data analysis technique described by Giorgi (1985).

Results: General essential meaning of prenatal stress across the study group was the experssed desires to recognize and control prenatal stress to avoid passing its dangerous effects to the unborn baby for whom they are responsible. ess across the study group. Prenatal stress was mostly expressed in terms of physical dimensions. The general essential meaning of the uses of MBE to mediate stress was learning and using MBE in the context of the prenatal condition led to its irregular and non-conforming use as a stress-mediating strategy after pregnancy. This study group used MBE while attending the prenatal support during their pregnancy but did not continue its use to mediate stress post-partum.

Conclusion: This study group did use MBE during pregnancy to mediate stress due the feelings of responsibility to unborn child and the knowledge that prenatal stress has shown to have negative impact on birth outcomes. However, once the baby was born, this study group used MBE in irregular ways or not at all.