University of Limerick
Gorham_2018_Exploring.pdf (2.37 MB)

Exploring women’s experiences of anxiety and providing care to their babies during pregnancy and the year after birth: an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA)

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posted on 2022-10-19, 13:51 authored by Marie Gorham
Introduction: Research has shown that anxiety during the perinatal period is experienced by many women and indeed may even be more common than depression (Carroll, Begley, & Clarke, 2014). However, to-date there is a dearth of qualitative studies exploring this experience. The current study aimed to contribute to the understanding of women’s lived experiences of anxiety and providing care to their babies during pregnancy and the year after birth, defined in the current study as the perinatal period. Method: The present study utilised a qualitative design and used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) as the methodological approach. The researcher recruited nine women with past experiences of anxiety who had given birth to their youngest child within the previous 30 months. All of the women participated in a semi-structured interview. Results: The transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and four Superordinate themes were generated: (1) Early Fears (2) Being the Caregiver (3) Needing Care and (4) Gaining Confidence. Discussion: The present study provided a rich account of women’s lived experiences of anxiety and caregiving during the perinatal period. The findings of the study are discussed with reference to previous literature, the strengths and limitations of the study, clinical implications and future research. Conclusion: The present study highlighted the need for healthcare professionals to provide more support to women who experience perinatal anxiety. It also highlighted the need for increased preparation and support for women in the transition to motherhood. Perinatal anxiety needs to receive greater attention in the area of perinatal care.



  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Coughlan, Barry

Second supervisor

Houghton, Sharon





Department or School

  • Psychology

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