Expectations about motherhood: its influencing factors during pregnancy

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Publication details

Emmanuel, E & Sun, J 2019, 'Expectations about motherhood: its influencing factors during pregnancy', COJ Nursing & Healthcare, vol. 5, no. 2.

Article available on Open Access

Peer Reviewed



Problem: Maternal expectations and influences on social functioning during pregnancy has received little recognition.

Background: For many women, expectations are developed as part of the adjustment to motherhood. Often little attention is given on how to cope with their expectations which can sometime affect their functioning. Protective factors can cushion this effect and alter the experience for mothers and therefore influence one’s quality of life

Aims: The aims of the paper are twofold. First, to identify the relationship between maternal expectations and health related quality of life during pregnancy. Second, to examine reduced maternal distress, as a protective factor against the effects of high maternal expectations on health-related quality of life.

Methods: A cohort study design was employed. Recruitment was conducted at antenatal clinics at three publicly funded metropolitan hospitals. Variables measured included maternal expectations, maternal distress, social support and the various components of health-related quality of life. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to investigate the relationships.

Findings: Maternal expectations were significantly related to both physical and mental health related quality of life. When added in the regression model, maternal distress had a mediating influence on the relationship between maternal expectations and many components related to health-related quality of life. Reduced maternal distress can influence expectations in a positive way and improve various related quality of life aspects for the mother.

Discussion/conclusion: Maternal expectations are part of the role development process that women go through during pregnancy. Encouraging expectant mothers during the prenatal period to reflect on their expectations and how these influence their emotional experiences and social functioning need to be part of midwifery care.

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