A Woman’s Struggle to Confront and Cope with Her Innermost Thoughts and Feelings Related to Reoccurring Preterm Labor and the Importance of Related External Factors: an In-Depth Article Critique of Three Clinical Studies

A woman, who is faced with reoccurring preterm labor, struggles to confront and cope with her innermost fears and anxieties as she deals with her newfound sense of responsibility to keep the baby in and fears embarrassment of being wrong about the way she feels; thus, her pregnancy is unique and different from a typical pregnancy as it is filled with fear, anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. Her whole life is turned upside down as she is restricted from her regular activities and given a whole new set of responsibilities. She often feels alone and that the weight of the world is bearing down on her. How does a woman’s struggle to confront and cope with preterm labor affect her psychological well-being?

The topic of how a woman copes with her thoughts and feelings when faced with preterm labor is important to the field of psychology. Some women deal with the feelings and thoughts related to reoccurring preterm labor every time they get pregnant, but yet, there is still not enough research and development into the understanding of how these women confront and cope with it. There is much to be learned from how a woman copes in this situation. It’s amazing how a woman, who lives in fear and anxiety every day for months, would gladly choose to do it again. Results of a study conducted by MacKinnon (2006) showed that pregnant women in risk of preterm labor went home from the doctor’s office feeling fear and alone in their battle of “keeping the baby in” (p. 700). What drives a woman to keep going in these extreme circumstances? How does she find the courage to go on even in the worst of predicaments? Research in this field can provide information to help healthcare providers to assist these women better. Sittner, DeFrain, and Hudson (2005) found that nurses need to understand what women are going through from their own perspective to cope with their high-risk pregnancies so they can implement appropriate and effective care for these women. Research on how a woman copes with the threat of preterm labor can also provide psychologists more insight into the ability of a woman to cope with extreme psychological trauma, how a woman reacts faced with elements of fear and anxiety, and a woman’s ability to deal with a crises in the compounds of a family experience.

The first article, Living With the Threat of Preterm Labor: Women’s Work of Keeping the Baby In, revealed the thoughts and feelings of pregnant women who were at risk for preterm labor. It emphasized the fears and anxieties within these pregnant women and how the women coped with them. The Second Article, Deciding When It’s Labor: The Experience of Women Who Have Received Antepartum Care at Home for Preterm Labor, also addressed the thoughts and feelings within pregnant women facing the fear of preterm labor, but went more in-depth on their ability or inability to decide whether their condition called for immediate medical attention. The third article, Effects of High-Risk Pregnancy on Families, focused, more than the first two, on research of what external factors including family ties and good patient/doctor relationship assisted women as they experienced the psychological stress during pregnancy. All of these topics are relevant in understanding the psychological impact of preterm labor on a pregnant woman. Throughout this paper, I will be critiquing each article as it pertains to the topic at hand and the thesis.

Journal Article 1: Living With the threat of Preterm Labor

The first article, Living With the threat of Preterm Labor: Women’s Work of Keeping the Baby In is based on clinical research conducted by Karen MacKinnon. The purpose of this study was “to explore the social organization of women’s preterm labor experiences” (MacKinnon, 2006, p. 700) and “to explore the effects of societal discourses, institutional structures and nursing work processes on the everyday lives of childbearing women” (MacKinnon, 2006, p. 700). Though the main purpose was to explore social organization, the true focus underlining the formal purpose of this article was all about how women adjust to the stresses and responsibilities of preterm labor and the changes preterm labor makes to their lives as they deal with intense feelings of alienation, fears, and helplessness.

“Monitoring her pregnancy effectively becomes the woman’s primary job with other household responsibilities transferred to family members” (MacKinnon, 2006, p.701). MacKinnon (2006) found that women showing symptoms of preterm labor were told to stop work and stay at home on bed rest and were restricted from activities such as climbing stairs, having sexual intercourse, housework, and child care. MacKinnon (2006) noted that the pregnant woman was instructed by healthcare professionals to stop everyday work that she normally did that went unnoticed and leave those duties to other family members to do, which was found to be a difficult adjustment for mother and family. “Studies have identified situational stressors (including uncertainty, lack of control, fears about the baby), environmental stressors from being confined to bed and home (such as feeling confined, isolated, bored, and depressed), and family stressors (such as having to adjust to having someone else do housework and child care” (MacKinnon, 2006, p. 701)

MacKinnon (2006) found that when the family, not the woman, is responsible for care work around the house, there is a lack of resources for managing the medical plan on discharge and a lack of resources available or offered to assist families. “The work of keeping the baby in conflicts with the family care work responsibilities and can cause significant hardships for some women and families” (MacKinnon, 2006, p.700). MacKinnon (2006) discovered that a pregnant woman faced with the threat of preterm labor felt that it was work to keep the baby in.

MacKinnon (2006) hypothesized that women diagnosed with preterm labor reorganize their entire social constructs to adjust to the constraints, limitations, responsibilities, and new expectations of their condition. MacKinnon’s (2006) results yielded that “preterm labor was experienced as a profound sense of personal responsibility for preventing preterm birth and practiced as being ‘˜careful'” (p. 700). MacKinnon (2006) reported that women experienced a fear of going home where they felt alone with the responsibility of keeping the baby in, and some women experienced a disappointment when their expected pleasant pregnancy experience was interrupted with the threat and experience of preterm labor. MacKinnon’s results loosely supported the hypothesis that women do have to reorganize their entire social constructs.

The participants in Mackinnon’s study were eight women between the ages of 21 and 36 years of age who lived in western Canada. Seven of the women were married, seven of the women were Canadian, one woman was a new immigrant to Canada from Africa, two of the women were from visible minorities, and seven of the eight women were working outside the home before they were diagnosed at risk for preterm labor (MacKinnon, 2006). Only two of the women in the study actually went into premature labor having their babies within two weeks of experiencing preterm labor symptoms and all the other women, though they did cope with the fears of preterm labor, made it to full term before delivery (MacKinnon, 2006). Two of the women had small children at home, and several families were low income (MacKinnon, 2006). MacKinnon (2006) used institutional ethnography to investigate women’s experiences through interviews that “focused on the women’s experiences of learning about preterm labor, living with preterm labor, and the work these women did caring for themselves, their unborn babies, and their families” (p. 702)

The group studied was a small sample of Canadian women. This group was too small and not diverse enough to represent the population of all women who have experienced preterm labor. All of the women were from Canada with only one being an immigrant (MacKinnon, 2006). The confounds of the experiment were too restricted to just small number of women Canadian women in a certain area of the country. Most of them were married and the study only covered women ages 21 to 36 (MacKinnon, 2006). It was mentioned that several families were low income, but not mentioned how many (MacKinnon, 2006). Considering the group used in the study, the group of women needed to be a considerably larger group with more defined different variables like age, background, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity. She used random assignment to get participants for this study. The participants were women who responded to a poster, which asked for participation (MacKinnon, 2006). This was definitely not an experimental control group. There was no control group. The women were affected by various different factors that were not held constant across all participants.

The purpose of the research did not seem to match the research itself. If there was a link, it was a loose link that one could assume, but it was unclear. The experiment itself, the findings, the results, and even the hypothesis seemed linked in some kind of way, but the purpose that the research was conducted for in the first place was stated too broad to relate to the rest of the article. The purpose basically stated that the experiment was administered to “explore social organization” (MacKinnon, 2006, p. 700), but the experiment itself is more specific and its hypothesis and findings relate incorporation of the purpose.

The textbook, Life-Span Human Development, written by Carol K. Sigelman and Elizabeth A. Rider (2009), addresses different developmental theories which can be applicable to this topic. According to Sigelman and Rider (2009), Freud’s Psychosexual Theory would indicate that any fears or stress a woman is feeling is related to some conflict unresolved in childhood in the oral, anal, phallic, latent, or genital stage. It is noted that much of Freud’s work was focused on unconscious fears, conflicts, and desires (Sigelman & Rider, 2009). MacKinnon (2006) suggested in no way that there are any past experiences influencing any of the women’s behaviors. She suggested no unconscious thought behind any of the fears and anxieties though there can be a question to whether there is or not. However, Sigelman and Rider (2009), defines Piaget’s adaptation as “the process of adjusting to the demands of environment” (p. 188). MacKinnon’s research agreed with the theory of adaptation. According to MacKinnon (2006), a pregnant woman at risk for preterm labor must adjust her entire life around the pregnancy.

Future research of this topic needs to include a larger more diverse group than the one used in this study. Also, the research needs to be redone to address the issue more accurately than it currently does by including more women who actually experienced the ultimate result of preterm labor, which is premature birth. Since there is no way to predict this factor, the best way to try to get a sufficient amount of women who might have that outcome is to increase the size of the experimental group.

Journal Article 2: Deciding When It’s Labor

The second article, Deciding When It’s Labor: The Experience of Women Who Have Received Antepartum care at Home for Preterm Labor, is based on clinical research conducted by Lynn Palmer and Elaine Carty. The purpose of this study was “to describe how women who had received antepartum care at home for preterm labor managed subsequent episodes of preterm labor symptoms” (Palmer & Carty, 2006, p. 509).

Palmer and Carty (2006) found that “to avoid delayed help seeking, nursing interventions should be geared to reducing anxiety and validating the experiences of women with reoccurring preterm labor symptoms” (p. 509). It has been found that women who have reoccurring episodes of preterm labor symptoms during pregnancy without cervical changes must decide when to seek professional help (Palmer & Carty, 2006). Palmer and Carty (2006) discovered that women go through a four step process of reconciling body knowledge, what they know they feel, and professional knowledge, which is what the doctor tells them. The four steps, which revolve around the overriding tension of not wanting to take a risk for the baby versus not wanting to over-react, are knowing something’s not right, a woman’s intuition about her own body, setting a new normal, the normal taking into consideration things that are not normal to regular pregnancies but are said to be alright by professionals; seeing what’s going on, researching and seeking further knowledge from professionals to understand the situation; and back to knowing something’s not right (Palmer & Carty, 2006).

Palmer and Carty (2006) found that women who given previous premature births could recognize the symptoms of preterm labor down to the precise timing of contractions far better than the women who had never had a premature birth. Research showed that most study participants who assessed a change in their condition do a self-assessment to know more about what they were feeling and to see if it persisted or stopped before seeking professional help (Palmer & Carty, 2006). Palmer and Carty (2006) reported that women in these pretenses set a new normal or the normal they would go by to assess whether they should seek professional help based on a higher threshold than the constraints of a regular pregnancy so that their analysis of their situation coincided with that of set by professional judgment. ” — their ‘˜new normal’ was set beyond the recommended antepartum help seeking guidelines to avoid the humiliation associated with appearing to overreact” (Palmer & Carty, 2006, p. 513).

Palmer and Carty (2006) hypothesized that because research has not been developed fully to help healthcare professionals to correctly identify preterm labor that will progress into premature birth, women who experience reoccurring preterm labor during pregnancy without significant cervical changes have to decide when they should seek professional help. Thus, they are faced with having to face an ongoing battle within themselves about whether they are just overreacting or should trust their bodies (Palmer & Carty, 2006). In their results, Palmer and Carty (2006) reported that “the core psychosocial process was reconciling body knowledge and professional knowledge” (p. 509). As part of their results, Palmer and Carty (2006) reported that even though participants knew something was not right and looked for professional help, when they spoke with healthcare professionals to discover what they were experiencing, they returned home feeling dissonance between what their bodies were telling them (body knowledge) and what healthcare professionals told them (professional knowledge), and “an overriding tension developed between not wanting to take a risk for the baby versus not wanting to overreact” (p. 509). Due to this fear of not wanting to overreact according to the healthcare providers guidelines, these women reconstruct their baselines of deciding whether a symptom is threatening or nonthreatening at a higher level by setting a new normal so they can avoid any humiliation of being seen as overreacting (Palmer & Carty, 2006). The results do supported the hypothesis because they provide a theory as to how these women began on the process of doubting themselves and their own intuition even when something might really be wrong due to differences in what they say they feel and how doctors say it really is because they do not want to be embarrassed. However, there was really not much mentioned through all of the research showing what the doctor’s diagnosis of these symptoms was that make women doubt themselves or anything that would prove how many times the doctor had misdiagnosed due to lack of medical knowledge that it hinted in the hypothesis.

The participants in Palmer and Carty’s (2006) study were “12 women who received antepartum care at home for preterm labor that had been diagnosed in hospital prior to 34 weeks gestation” (p. 509). The participants were women between the ages of 23 and 35 years with a mean age of 30 years (Palmer & Carty, 2006). Four of the women had a twelfth grade education and four of the women had a postsecondary diploma or certificate (Palmer & Carty, 2006). Four of the women had had a previous preterm birth, and five of the women in the study gave birth prior to 37 weeks gestation (Palmer & Carty, 2006). Palmer and Carty (2006) used the grounded theory method in which they conducted taped interviews and made field notes from each interview.

This sample was relatively small though larger than the one in the last study. The study never defined where these women were located as in what country or state and did not give any inkling to how participates were chosen or if this was random sampling. The confounds of this research was very well-defined specifically involving those women within a specific age group who had been diagnosed with preterm labor prior to 34 weeks (Palmer & Carty, 2006). Though there were not many variables, the experimental group included variables of education and experience with previous premature birth in some women to the absence of in other women, there was no control group due to the changing nature of circumstances.

The research reflected that a lack of medical knowledge in the professional field has led to the healthcare professionals not being able to give patients proper information so the patient has begun to doubt herself, but research did not go any further into detail. The research was inadequate in explaining what doctors may have said to make women doubt themselves. Though the process of the patient’s thoughts were underlined, there was no room for consideration that an experienced patient might be more cautious also might have that prior experience help override her fears of humiliation.

The textbook, Life-Span Human Development, written by Carol K. Sigelman and Elizabeth A. Rider (2009), addresses Watson’s Classical Conditioning as a learning theory to explain how people are conditioned to specific responses. “Watson’s behaviorism rested on his belief that conclusions about human development and functioning should be based on observations of overt behavior rather than on speculations about observable cognitive and emotional processes” (Sigelman & Rider, 2009, p. 39-400). Watson’s Theory relates to the research in this Palmer and Carty’s (2006) article because participants of this study learn to become embarrassed and afraid of seeming paranoid when repeatedly told that their feelings were incorrect according to medical knowledge. According to Sigelman and Rider (2009), an unconditioned stimulus is one that is unlearned pertaining to an emotion like fear, and the unconditioned response is an unlearned response to the unconditioned stimulus. In the case of this article, the unconditioned stimulus was doctors and nurses repeatedly telling the patient that nothing was wrong so the unconditioned response was that the woman does not want to go to the doctor with concerns for fear of embarrassment from being wrong (Palmer & Carty, 2006).

Future research of this topic needs to be more extensive in not only studying the steps a woman takes to decide whether to seek out professional help when discouraged by the professional help she seeks because of fear of humiliation from being accused of over-reacting, but also needs to go into further detail of what kinds of things healthcare providers say to inhibit women’s own judgments and how women can better overcome those feelings of embarrassment to be able to do as needed for their babies.

Journal Article 3: Effects of High-Risk Pregnancies on Families

The third article, Effects of High-Risk Pregnancies on Families, is based on clinical research conducted by Barbara J. Sittner, PhD, RN, John Defrain, PhD, and Diane Brage Hudson, PhD, RN. The purpose of this study was “to examine the psychological impact a high-risk pregnancy has on the family and to identify strengths and how these strengths help families meet the challenges inherent in high-risk pregnancies” (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005, p. 121). Sittner, DeFrain, and Hudson (2005) define the clinical implications of such a study as that high-risk pregnancy such as preterm labor affects women and their families causing alterations in family functioning, and if nurses become familiar with family strengths and help families recognize such in the event of changes that must occur when facing the demands of high-risk pregnancy.

“Nurses need to have a thorough understanding of how women with high-risk pregnancies cope with their diagnosis if they are to implement effective nursing care for these women” (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005, p.122). Sittner, DeFrain, and Hudson (2005) found that the descriptive narratives of the psychosocial impact of high-risk pregnancy have evolved into three major themes, which are: mixed emotions, adjustment and support, and informative care. It was noted that, due to mixed emotions, the most common words women in high-risk pregnancies used to describe their pregnancies were variances of happy, scary, excited, and stressful (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005). Sittner, Defrain, and Hudson (2005) found that successful adjustment to the changes of lifestyle due to high-risk pregnancy depended on support from within the family. Anna a woman participating in the study reported that her family’s additional help around the house assisting her husband and helping out with childcare helped her to feel less stressed than if no one would have been around to help her (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005). Anna stated, “[My husband] has been the best trooper through all this because we’ve had a lot of other issues happening and he’s just handles everything great. He’s been wonderful” (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005, p.123). It was found that a solid support system at home including a positive attitude from the husband and a supportive family sticking together to help out was detrimental in the success of a woman’s ability to cope with high-risk pregnancy in a positive way (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005). Sittner, DeFrain, and Hudson (2005) also found that relating to good relations with medical professionals, informative care, and the ability of women to access information about their condition was important to the care women received and their ability to cope with their diagnosis. Anna, “The doctors are very good, the nurses are very good. I think the best thing possible is giving the patient as much information as you can without scaring them. I think being informed is the key” (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005, p. 123). It has been found that women appreciated any informative knowledge as long as it was not too scary for this information was a reassurance that their doctors’ care was a big help in reducing their anxieties and helping them cope with high-risk pregnancy (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005).

Sittner, DeFrain, and Hudson (2005) hypothesized that a woman’s ability to cope with high-risk pregnancy depends on the support she has from family and the relationship she has with her healthcare provider. In turn, the healthcare provider can learn from the coping abilities of the woman and how a strong family tie relates to that ability to cope (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005). The results from this study yielded three major themes, which are: mixed emotions, adjustment and support, and informative care which all important ways to measure a family’s strengths as they apply when considering how a woman manages her thoughts and feelings when faced with high-risk pregnancy (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005). The results showed “the most common family strength identified was the ability to manage stress and crises, followed by commitment, appreciation and affection, a sense of spiritual being, and enjoyable time together” (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005, p. 121). These results extensively supported the hypothesis that Sittner, DeFrain, and Hudson (2005) first provided by not only outlining three major themes, but in providing in-depth information about how both family support and good interactions with healthcare providers could assist a woman coping with high-risk pregnancy.

Participants, all Caucasian and ages 19 to 36 years of age, in the study consisted of “eight women with differing high-risk obstetric health issues and family situations” (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005, p. 122) and “their diagnoses included multiple gestation (two sets of triplets and one set of twins) preterm labor, premature rupture of membranes, and one fetal anomaly” (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005, p. 122). Other variables in this experimental group study included marital status (six women married, two single women, and all but tone living with significant other) and education (six had attended college, two had graduated high school) (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005). The sample was not one of random assignment. All the women were carefully selected according to their knowledge of the phenomenon of interest, but were a wide enough range to represent the population at large (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005). Though the confounds and limitations cover a large group possibly representative of the population at large, “dualitative studies are not generalizable, and the small, purposive sample size makes other interpretations of the data possible” (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005, p. 125). This research was a qualitative descriptive case study in which interviews with open-ended questioning were conducted during gestational ages ranged from 15 to 34 weeks (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005).

When evaluating the participants, there was a void in the use of ethnicity or race in this research. All participants were Caucasian (Sittner, DeFrain, & Hudson, 2005). Also, there was no mention of socioeconomic status, which does make a difference in the family’s ability to have the resources and time available to help out and the patient’s ability to see a healthcare provider for the guidance she needs. In some ways, this study does fit the general population, but it fell short because of the areas it was lacking. This study did a good job of incorporating different high-risk conditions, but only a select number of women were chosen to participate.

The textbook, Life-Span Human Development, written by Carol K. Sigelman and Elizabeth A. Rider (2009), discusses Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective. According to Sigelman and Rider (2009) states that Vygotsksy’s Sociocultural Perspective focuses on society and social ties in a group of people as a way for a person to live and experience life so basically culture and relationships with other people plays a big part in a person’s development. Sigelman and Rider (2009) define Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development as “the gap between what a learner can accomplish independently and what she can accomplish with the guidance and encouragement of a more skilled partner” (p. 210). This article and the textbook both agree on Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective. In the research given in this article by Sittner, DeFrain, and Hudson (2005), the patients had to rely on healthcare professionals as a source to learn and stay informed about their condition, and they social interaction with family was important to keep them and their families going through the pregnancy.

Future research should be conducted to include a variety of ethnicity, race and socioeconomic backgrounds in order to provide information that will be beneficial to more people than the small group in this study. Also, future research would be better if done on larger confounds with larger groups of women than was involved in this study. Future research should also be conducted by means of random sampling. This group was not controlled, and random sampling will give a more realistic representation of the population than the current study has given.

Discussion of Findings

The textbook, Life-Span Human Development, written by Carol K. Sigelman and Elizabeth A. Rider (2009), discusses several applicable theories and terms for understanding the behavior and the situation a woman threatened with preterm labor experiences including: Freud’s Psychosexual Theory, Piaget’s adaptation, Watson’s Classical Conditioning and behaviorism with the terms unconditioned stimulus and unconditioned response, and Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective in response to the zone of proximal development. I found that all these theories and terms work together to explain some of what is happening in a woman’s life when she is faced with the threat of and the presence of preterm labor.

The articles all intertwine with one another in their findings to explain what a woman, who experiences preterm labor, endures in the means of their feelings and thoughts related to the stress of this kind of pregnancy, to explain a woman’s struggle to determine when she should seek the help of a healthcare provider in this situation, and the importance of strong family ties and good relations with healthcare providers. The first article by MacKinnon (2006) reported findings that defined the thoughts and feelings women have in which to cope and how they manage those feelings. The second article by Palmer and Carty (2006) reported findings that outlined the extra stress and fear women have of having to choose between what they think is best for their baby and the fear of humiliation when being accused of overreacting. The third article by Sittner, Defrain, and Hudson (2005) reported findings that stated how these women are assisted by external factors such as strong family ties and good relations with a healthcare provider. All of the article relate to some aspect of preterm labor as it affects the patient.

Personal Reflection

I have experienced preterm labor twice. I have a bicornuate uterus, or more commonly known as the heart shaped uterus. Because of my bicornuate uterus, I am unable to carry a baby to full-term. Bicornuate uteri, because of the way they are shaped, are restricted on how big they can expand. The baby just simply runs out of room so my body will automatically prepare for labor. Due to my condition, I am also prone to bleeding during pregnancy and a condition called placenta previa. My first pregnancy, I was pregnant with twins. With twins, women typically have the babies early, but since I am at risk for preterm labor, they came even earlier for me at 24 weeks. To make matters worse, at that time, neither I nor my husband was aware that I had a bicornuate uterus or that I was a high-risk patient predisposed to preterm labor. I was seeing one doctor, but she retired mid-term through my pregnancy, and I transferred to another doctor. The new doctor did not do an ultrasound or tell us they were twins until I was about 20 weeks along. She did not mention anything about the placenta previa she saw on the ultrasound. I had an abruption and was sent into full-blown labor at home. That was the worst pain I felt in my entire life. I thought I was going to die. It felt like someone was ripping my insides out. I was so scared! I called my doctor, and she just said it was false labor and to stay home. She didn’t believe me! Then, my water broke. Since I had never had a baby before, and we had not yet made it to the childbirth class, neither one of us knew what was happening. Suddenly, I felt something coming out. I screamed for my husband and he delivered our first son with 9-1-1 on the phone. Our second con was born via cesarean section at the hospital. Our sons were in NICU, but they died within a matter of days. The doctor came in and told me I would never have children. I was devastated. There are some things you can read about. There are some things you hear about. But nothing ever prepares you for something like that. I was terrified! I really thought I was going to die. Then, my sons died right there in my arms. The doctor said I would never have children, which having a family has always meant the world to me. I fell apart. I had a total nervous breakdown. I just could not believe what had just happened. I kept on thinking I would wake up from that horrible nightmare. People tried to help, but the things they said just came out the wrong way and hurt me more. This is really something hard to understand until you live through it. For two years, I asked God “Why?” For two years, I felt sorry for myself. I bounced back in forth in my head whether I really wanted to get pregnant again knowing what I had already lived through, but my desire to have a child ran deep. The new specialist I am with now reassured me it was possible, but I was leery to trust anyone. Then, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. That’s when I started really healing. I’ll never forget my sons, but I love my daughter more than anyone could ever imagine. Every day, I thank God for her. For the pregnancy with my daughter I was on bed rest from the fifth month on through the duration of my pregnancy. My daughter was born prematurely at 35 weeks, and I, my family, and the doctors were celebrating. That was good for my body. She and I made it a long time. She had to go to NICU, but this time, we took our baby home with us. I lived through all the transition of lifestyle. I personally dealt with the alienation of being locked away in a house all day and night with no way to get out. My household was turned upside down because normally I do all the housework, and my husband had to do it all. I dealt with the fear of not being able to keep my daughter in me long enough for her to survive. I know how it feels to be afraid to ask the doctor about something because he will probably say it is no big deal. This time, I asked and was persistent because in the first pregnancy, I listened to the doctor when she said it was nothing, and I had a baby at home so I learned to make the doctor listen. I know the importance of family and the importance of having a good relationship with the doctor. The more the doctor knows about my condition, the more he can help and keep me informed. For my pregnancies, information really is the key.


The area of research on a woman’s fears, anxieties, and other extreme emotions within her thoughts and feelings when faced with preterm labor, how she copes with it, and what external factors like family and healthcare providers is an area that needs to be given further consideration because there are quite a few women out there living through this phenomenon, but not enough research has been done so far for healthcare professionals to totally understand the needs of these women and their unique pregnancies. The more healthcare providers can learn and understand about how these women react, the better they can help them by providing them with better informative care that will in turn help them have a safer pregnancy for baby and mom.

This research’s contribution to the field of psychology is that from the information collected on how women deal with preterm labor, psychologists get an insight into the way women deal with crisis. This research provides the field of psychology with a look inside how women deal with fear and anxiety as well as a feeling of alienation. Plus, it gives psychologists insight on how women adapt and adjust to sudden changes in lifestyle. This research can give insight on how people will construct their judgment to avoid humiliation and the importance of communion and community in the lives of these women. Insight into the thoughts and feelings a woman has as she confronts and copes with preterm labor, and the impact of external factors such as family ties and good relations with healthcare professionals are both important in understanding much about a woman’s ability to handle crises and the social and professional ties needed for her to do so. In conclusion, this topic has much to offer the field of psychology if it is researched more extensively than it has been researched. There is a great deal that both doctors and psychologists can learn from a woman’s struggles to confront and cope with reoccurring preterm labor.

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Palmer, L., &Carty, E. (2006). Deciding When It’s Labor: The Experience of Women Who Have

Received Antepartum Care at Home for Preterm Labor. JOGNN: Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 35(4), 509-515.

Sigelman, C. K., & Rider, E. A. (2009). Life-Span Human Development, Sixth Edition. Belmont,

CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Sittner, B. J., DeFrain, J., & Hudson, D. B., (2005). Effects of High-Risk Pregnancies on

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