An Integrative Review of Mothers' Experiences of Preeclampsia

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Abstract

Objective:

To describe and synthesize the extant research on women's experiences with preeclampsia into the postpartum period, when birth is necessary to save the mother's or infant's life.

Data Sources:

The PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and ISI Web of Science databases were searched for relevant articles published between 2004 and 2014.

Study Selection:

Although a comprehensive search was performed, only eight studies were found that answered the research question and were included in the review.

Data Extraction:

Data were extracted and analyzed from each article that addressed women's experiences of pre-eclampsia: authors, year, country, study purpose, design, sample size, setting, main focus, data collection method, study findings, and limitations.

Data Synthesis:

The following themes emerged from the synthesis of how women experience severe preeclampsia: (a) From Feeling Fear and Closeness to Death to Feeling Hope, (b) Relationship With the Infant, (c) Separation From Loved Ones, and (d) Communication With Health Professionals.

Conclusion:

Fear and feeling close to death characterized the experience of childbirth for many of these women, and the premature birth was a shock for many. Having a newborn in the NICU was experienced as a transition from fear to hope as the newborn's life was sustained outside the womb. Separation of the mother from the newborn when one or both need special care remains a problem. Health care professionals must ensure that women in this situation receive the information and support they need and that the information is understood. This review revealed that more research is necessary regarding this specific mother–infant dyad and their families in the context of Western countries and developing countries.

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