Do contemporary social and health discourses arouse peripartum anxiety? A qualitative investigation of women's accounts

  • Rowe H
  • Fisher J
  • 29


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 1


    Citations of this article.


The aim was to investigate women's accounts of the sources and explanations of perinatal anxiety to inform clinical and public health responses. Discussions with groups of women during admission to an early parenting service were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using an interpretative phenomenological approach. Twenty women participated (40% had above 'normal' anxiety symptoms; 45% were experiencing moderate or severe stress). The groups reported sources of worry about their babies, themselves and their relationships. These anxiety triggers were interpreted in the context of contemporary social and health discourses about pregnancy, the postpartum period and infant care. Five themes were identified: image management; single-message health promotion campaigns; evidence-based decision making, 'maternal instinct', and risk. Public health campaigns, health professionals and others could ameliorate perinatal anxiety by providing realistic, understandable, numerical information to assist decision making, disrupt inaccurate gender-based stereotypes about mothering behaviours and offer abundant praise for the work of mothering.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free