First-Time Pregnant Women's Experience of the Decision-Making Process Related to Completing or Terminating Pregnancy -- a Phenomenological Study
Scandinavian journal of caring sciences 2011 Mar; 25(1): 169-75
Every year about 30,000 women in Norway become unexpectedly pregnant and have to decide whether to complete or terminate the pregnancy. Few studies have been performed of these women's experiences. The aim of this qualitative study was to get new and more extensive information regarding women's experiences relating to their considerations of whether to terminate a pregnancy in the first trimester. In-depth interviews with four participants between 25 and 32 years were conducted. None of them had previously given birth or had had an abortion. Each woman was interviewed twice during a period of 2 weeks. The first interview took place between 7 and 11 weeks into the pregnancy. None of the women had reached a decision on whether to complete or terminate the pregnancy. All the women described an increased awareness of their body and a struggle to make 'the right decision'. They described a desire for autonomy as well as a need for understanding and acknowledgement from significant others and health care providers. They experienced a tension between their pregnant body and the surrounding world, between their own body and the foetus and between their own choice and the opinions of others. One consequence of a woman's right to choose can be an unwanted loneliness or giving in to other people's choices. There is consequently a need for professionals who are able to exercise skilled judgement and who are aware of their own power in the relationship so as to assure that the pregnant woman does in fact makes her own decision.
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