Social support for pregnant women

Review Article, Pol J Public Health 2015;125(3): 169-172

AGNIESZKA SKURZAK1, MARIOLA KICIA1, KRZYSZTOF WIKTOR2,
GRAŻYNA IWANOWICZ-PALUS1, HENRYK WIKTOR3

1 Independent Unit of Midwifery Skills, Medical University of Lublin, Poland
2 Chair and Department of Endocrine Gynecology, Medical University of Lublin, Poland
3 Midwifery Department, Gynecology and Nursing, Midwifery Department, Medical University of Lublin, Poland
DOI: 10.1515/pjph-2015-0048

Abstract

This paper is a review of the literature concerning the importance of social support during pregnancy. Being pregnant is a special event in every woman’s life, since it is associated with physical and mental changes. In addition to being a physiological event, pregnancy creates a burden for the body and induces stress. Pregnant women tend to suffer from fear of the unknown, especially regarding: baby, themselves, course of delivery, the need for a new role – of a mother, economic, professional, emotional situations and relationship with partner. The diagnosis of high-risk pregnancy and the need for hospitalization increase the incidence of negative emotions and experiences such as: permanent anxiety about the child’s life, anger, sadness, doubts about the diagnosis, fear of pregnancy complications, frustration and dissatisfaction with the implementation of the functions of maternal concerns during the stay in the hospital. Anxiety and fear that appear during pregnancy affect the attitude of women in pregnancy and after childbirth.
Various authors frequently use the term “pregnancy-specific stress”. There is a relationship between concerns, stress in the mother during pregnancy and lifestyle, duration of pregnancy, and the possible complications during intrauterine and neonatal life. Social support significantly influences the quality of coping with stress in pregnant women. If a pregnant woman receives strong social support from her network, the negative emotions and concerns would be reduced. Receiving support also boosts the chances of successful pregnancy completion. The people from the immediate social network of a pregnant woman, like their partner, spouse, family, friends, midwife, doctor, are the most vital source of support.

Keywords

pregnancy, specific stress, social support.

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