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  • 1.
    Bäckström, Caroline
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. Högskolan i Jönköping, Hälsohögskolan, HHJ. CHILD.
    Professional and social support for first-time mothers and partners during childbearing2018Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Expecting a child and becoming a parent is one of life’s major events, during which the parents’ perspective on life and their couple relationship changes. For some parents, childbearing entails a decrease in parental couple relationship quality. The way in which parents are able to cope with childbearing may be connected with their Sense of Coherence; which is a person’s ability to perceive life as comprehensible, manageable and meaningful. For parents’ positive childbearing experiences, professional and social support have been proven to be valuable. However, far from all parents have access to social support; furthermore, professional support does not always meet the needs of expectant parents. Hence, more research is needed to increase knowledge about expectant parents’ experiences of professiona land social support. In addition, more research is needed to explore factors associated with quality of couple relationship among parents during childbearing.

    Aims: The overall aim of the thesis was to explore professional and social support for first-time mothers and partners during childbearing in relation toquality of couple relationship and Sense of Coherence.

    Methods: The study’s designs were explorative, prospective and longitudinal; both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. Specifically, explorative designs, qualitative methods and phenomenographic analysis were used to explore expectant first-time mothers’ (I) and partners’ perceptions of professional support (II). Furthermore, an explorative design, qualitative method and qualitative content analysis were used to explore expectant first-time mothers’ experiences of social support (III). Within Study IV, a prospective longitudinal design, descriptive statistics, non-parametric tests and multiple linear regression analysis were used to evaluate factors associated with quality of couple relationship among first-time mothers and partners, during pregnancy and the first six months of parenthood.

    Results: The overall results of the thesis revealed both similarities and differences between expectant first-time mothers’ and partners’ perceptions of professional support, effects from social support and associated factors with perceived quality of couple relationship. The similarities were; both mothers and partners perceived that professional support could facilitate partner involvement, influence their couple relationship and facilitate contacts with other expectant parents. According to first-time mothers’ experiences, their couple relationship with their partner was also strengthened by social support during pregnancy. Further, the results showed that both first-time mothers’ and partners’ higher perceived couple relationship quality six months after birth, was associated with their higher perceived social support. The results showed also that both mothers and partners perceived their quality of couple relationship to decrease and Sense of Coherence to increase six months after childbirth, compared to the pregnancy. Differences revealed were such as: higher Sense of Coherence was only associated with mothers’ higher perceived quality of couple relationship, and first-time mothers reported perceiving more social support compared to the partners both during pregnancy, first week and six months after childbirth.

    Conclusions: Professional and social support can strengthen first-time mothers and partners both individually and as a couple, in their abilities to cope with childbearing. On the individual basis, the expectant parents could be strengthened through professional and social support that contributed to their understanding and feeling of being prepared for childbirth and parenting, for instance. As a couple, the parents were strengthened by professional support that included the partner’s role, as well as higher perceived social support overall. In contrast, lack of support could have a negative influence on the expectant parents’ feeling of being prepared for childbirth and parenting. Besides this, the results indicates that childbearing has a positive effect on parents’ abilities to cope with life even though their quality of couple relationship decrease. Professionals can use these results in their further understanding about how to offer satisfactory support to first-time mothers and partners during childbearing.

  • 2.
    Bäckström, Caroline
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    Stöd till förstagångsföräldrar i samband med barnafödande2018In: Jordemodern, ISSN 0021-7468, Vol. 131, no 1, p. 4-7Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Bäckström, Caroline A.
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Hertfelt Wahn, Elisabeth I.
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Ekström, Anette
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Two sides of breastfeeding support: experiences of women and midwives2010In: International Breastfeeding Journal, ISSN 1746-4358, E-ISSN 1746-4358, Vol. 5, p. Article number 20-Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Midwives’ support of breastfeeding in maternity wards has been proven to provide an impact on women’s breastfeeding experiences. In previous studies women describe professional support unfavourably, with an emphasis on time pressures, lack of availability or guidance, promotion of unhelpful practices, and conflicting advice. Thus, the present study aims to investigate women’s experiences and reflections of receiving breastfeeding support and midwives’ experiences and reflections of giving breastfeeding support. Methods: This study was carried out in a county in southwestern Sweden during 2003-2004. A qualitative method, content analysis, was chosen for the study. The data came from interviews with women as well as interviews with midwives who were experienced in breastfeeding support. Results:  The women’s and midwives’ experiences and reflections of receiving and giving breastfeeding support were conceptualized as one main theme: “Individualized breastfeeding support increases confidence and satisfaction.” This theme contained three categories: “The unique woman,” ”The sensitive confirming process,” and “Consistency of ongoing support.” In order to feel confident in their new motherhood role, the women wanted more confirmation as unique individuals and as breastfeeding women; they wanted to be listened to; and they wanted more time, understanding, and follow-up from health professionals. In contrast, the midwives described themselves as encouraging and confirming of the women’s needs.  Conclusions:  If health care professionals responded to the woman’s unique needs, the woman felt that the breastfeeding support was good and was based on her as an individual, otherwise a feeling of uncertainty emerged. The midwives, however, expressed that they gave the women individual support, but they also expressed that the support came from different points of view, because the midwives interpreted women’s signals differently. 

  • 4.
    Bäckström, Caroline A.
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Hertfelt Wahn, Elisabeth I.
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Ekström, Anette C.
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Zwei Seiten der Stillberatung: Erfahrungen von Frauen und Hebammen2012In: Laktation und Stillen, ISSN 1614-807X, Vol. 25, no 2, p. 56-62Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 5.
    Bäckström, Caroline A.
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. Skaraborg Hospital Skövde, Woman, Child (K3), Skövde, Sweden / Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, CHILD-Research Group, Jönköping, Sweden.
    Mårtensson, Lena B.
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    Golsäter, Marie H.
    Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, CHILD-Research Group, Jönköping, Sweden.
    Thorstensson, Stina A.
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    "It's like a puzzle": Pregnant women's perceptions of professional support in midwifery care2016In: Women and Birth, ISSN 1871-5192, E-ISSN 1878-1799, Vol. 29, no 6, p. e110-e118Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    ProblemPregnant women are not always satisfied with the professional support they receive during their midwifery care. More knowledge is needed to understand what professional support pregnant women need for childbirth and parenting.

    BackgroundChildbearing and the transition to becoming a parent is a sensitive period in one's life during which one should have the opportunity to receive professional support. Professional support does not always correspond to pregnant women's needs. To understand pregnant women's needs for professional support within midwifery care, it is crucial to further illuminate women's experiences of this support.

    AimTo explore pregnant women's perceptions of professional support in midwifery care.

    MethodsA qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. Fifteen women were interviewed during gestational weeks 36–38. Data was analysed using phenomenography.

    FindingsThe women perceived professional support in midwifery care to be reassuring and emotional, to consist of reliable information, and to be mediated with pedagogical creativity. The professional support facilitated new social contacts, partner involvement and contributed to mental preparedness. The findings of the study were presented in six categories and the category Professional support contributes to mental preparedness was influenced by the five other categories.

    ConclusionPregnant women prepare for childbirth and parenting by using several different types of professional support in midwifery care: a strategy that could be described as piecing together a puzzle. When the women put the puzzle together, each type of professional support works as a valuable piece in the whole puzzle. Through this, professional support could contribute to women's mental preparedness for childbirth and parenting.

  • 6.
    Bäckström, Caroline
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Hertfelt Wahn, Elisabeth
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Support during labour: first-time fathers' descriptions of requested and received support during the birth of their child2011In: Midwifery, ISSN 0266-6138, E-ISSN 1532-3099, Vol. 27, no 1, p. 67-73Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objective:  to explore how first-time fathers describe requested and received support during a normal birth. Design:  qualitative research design. Ten first-time fathers were interviewed during the first postpartum week.  Individual  open-ended  interviews  were  used  to  explore  the  fathers’  descriptions,  and  the interviews were analysed using qualitative analysis. Setting:  a labour ward at one hospital in a south-western county of Sweden in November and December 2006. Participants:  first-time  fathers  who  had  experienced  a  normal  birth  at  the  hospital  during  the study period. Findings:  the support described is presented as one main theme, ‘being involved or being left out’, which included four underlying categories: ‘an allowing atmosphere’, ‘balancing involvement’, ‘being seen’ and ‘feeling left out’. Key conclusions:  fathers perceived that they were given good support when they were allowed to ask questions during labour, when they had the opportunity to interact with the midwife and their partner, and when they could choose when to be involved or to step back. Fathers want to be seen as individuals who are part of the labouring couple. If fathers are left out, they tend to feel helpless; this can result in a feeling of panic and can put their supportive role of their partner at risk. Implications  for practice:  the  results  of  this  study could  initiate  discussions  about  how  health-care professionals can develop support given to the labouring couple, with an interest in increasing paternal involvement.

  • 7.
    Bäckström, Caroline
    et al.
    Kärnsjukhuset, Skövde.
    Hertfelt Wahn, Elisabeth
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Ekström, Anette
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Två perspektiv på amningsstöd2011In: Amningsnytt, ISSN 1102-7207, no 3, p. 4-5Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 8.
    Bäckström, Caroline
    et al.
    Skaraborgs sjukhus.
    Hertfelt Wahn, Elisabeth
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Ekström, Anette
    University of Skövde, School of Life Sciences.
    Två sidor av amningsstöd2012In: Jordemodern - Tema Amning, ISSN 0021-7468, no 3, p. 40-41Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 9.
    Bäckström, Caroline
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. Skaraborg Hospital Skövde, ‘ Woman, Child ’ (K3) Skövde, Sweden / Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, CHILD-research Group, Jönköping, Sweden.
    Kåreholt, Ingemar
    Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, Aging Research Network – Jönköping (ARN-J), Jönköping, Sweden / Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University, Aging Research Center, Gävlegatan 16, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Thorstensson, Stina
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    Golsäter, Marie
    Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, CHILD-research Group, Jönköping, Sweden.
    Mårtensson, Lena B.
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    Quality of couple relationship among first-time mothers and partners during pregnancy and the first six months of parenthood2018In: Sexual & Reproductive HealthCare, ISSN 1877-5756, E-ISSN 1877-5764, Vol. 17, p. 56-64Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 10.
    Bäckström, Caroline
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. Skaraborg Hospital Skövde, Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, CHILD-research Group, Jönköping, Sweden.
    Larsson, Therese
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. Närhälsan Midwifery Unit, Skövde, Sweden.
    Wahlgren, Emma
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. Skaraborg Hospital Skövde.
    Golsäter, Marie
    Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, CHILD-research Group, Jönköping, Sweden.
    Mårtensson, Lena B.
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    Thorstensson, Stina
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    ‘It makes you feel like you are not alone’: Expectant first-time mothers’ experiences of social support within the social network, when preparing for childbirth and parenting2017In: Sexual & Reproductive HealthCare, ISSN 1877-5756, E-ISSN 1877-5764, Vol. 12, p. 51-57Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 11.
    Bäckström, Caroline
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. Skaraborg Hospital Skövde, Woman, Child (K3), Skövde, Sweden / Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, CHILD-research group, Jönköping, Sweden.
    Thorstensson, Stina
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    Mårtensson, Lena B.
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education.
    Grimming, Rebecca
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. Närhälsan Skaraborg, Young Persons Clinic, Skövde, Sweden.
    Nyblin, Yrsa
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. Danderyd Hospital AB, Women’s care, Gynecology ward, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Golsäter, Marie
    Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, CHILD-research group, Jönköping, Sweden.
    'To be able to support her, I must feel calm and safe': pregnant women's partners perceptions of professional support during pregnancy2017In: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, ISSN 1471-2393, E-ISSN 1471-2393, Vol. 17, p. 1-11, article id 234Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Professional support does not always meet the needs of expectant fathers or co-mothers. The way in which professional support is offered during pregnancy varies internationally, depending on the country. In order to attain a greater understanding of partners' experiences of professional support, it is necessary to further illuminate their perceptions of it. The aim of this study was therefore to explore pregnant women's partners' perceptions of professional support during pregnancy. Methods: Qualitative research design. Partners of pregnant women were interviewed during gestational week 36-38. Individual semi-structured interviews were used to explore the partners' perceptions. The data was analysed using a phenomenographic approach. The study was performed in a county in south-western Sweden; the data collection was conducted from November 2014 to February 2015. Fourteen partners (expectant fathers and co-mothers) of women who were expectant first-time mothers with singleton pregnancies, were interviewed. Results: The findings of the study are presented through four descriptive categories: Ability to absorb adequate information; Possibility to meet and share with other expectant parents; Confirmation of the partner's importance; and Influence on the couple relationship. Using a theoretical assumption of the relationship between the categories showed that the fourth category was influenced by the other three categories. Conclusions: The partners perceived that professional support during pregnancy could influence the couple relationship. The partners' ability to communicate and to experience togetherness with the women increased when the expectant couple received professional support together. The support created also possibilities to meet and share experiences with other expectant parents. In contrast, a lack of support was found to contribute to partners' feelings of unimportance. It was essential that the midwives included the partners by confirming that they were individuals who had different needs for various types of professional support. The partners perceived it easier to absorb information when it was adequate and given with a pedagogic that made the partners become interested and emotionally engaged.

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