A Reflection on Psychosocial Assessment and Support As a Component of Routine Holistic Antenatal Care

Sunday, 27 July 2014: 3:55 PM

Johanna M. Mathibe-Neke, PhD, MCur, BACur
Department of Health Studies, School of Humanities, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The purpose of the presentation is to address the importance of pregnant womens' psychological status to the benefit of her foetus and her pregnancy and postnatal wellbeing. This can be achieved through the introduction of an antenatal risk assessment program that would identify and manage women during pregnancy as they are psychosocially at risk. The final outcome would be the provision of a holistic antenatal care to women.

Methods: Qualitative and quantitative research designs were used by way of methodological triangulation. Triangulation was further achieved through the use of multiple data sources.  The qualitative method was used as preliminary to the quantitative method. An interpretive qualitative approach was used to validate quantitative data by providing a different perspective on psychosocial care.


A screening tool was developed in response to the findings from the midwives’ focus group discussions, the cross-sectional survey results from midwives, midwifery experts, the responses of self administered questionnaires for pregnant women, and the information obtained through the review of the antenatal records used by women during antenatal care. Responses from focus group discussions with midwives and indepth interviews with midwifery experts further recommended that a tool that incoporate psychosocial care during pregnancy should be developed and implemented. The tool was piloted in the partipating sites and thematic responses of its use by midwives will be shared in the presentation


An ideal option for effective antenatal care is the incorporation of psychosocial care as a component of antenatal care, acknowledging women’s own experiences of pregnancy. Midwifery, which means “to be with women”, is based upon a philosophy of care in which  the management of pregnancy is shared between the midwife and the woman, with a focus on informed choice, shared responsibility, mutual decision-making and women articulating their health needs.