2006 Palmer L, Carty E. (2006). Deciding when it’s labor: The experience of women who have received antepartum care at home for preterm labor. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs, 35(4): 509-515.
Objective: To describe how women who had received antepartum care at home for preterm labor managed subsequent episodes of preterm labor symptoms.
Design: Grounded theory method.
Setting: 2 Canadian antepartum home care programs.
Participants: 12 women who received antepartum care at home for preterm labor that had been diagnosed in hospital prior to 34 weeks gestation.
Results: The core psychosocial process was reconciling body knowledge and professional knowledge. Study participants reported knowing something’s not right and followed decision guides to seek help. If, when they returned to the hospital to see what’s going on, they felt dissonance between what their bodies were telling them (body knowledge) and what their health care providers were telling them (professional knowledge) an overriding tension developed between not wanting to take a risk for the baby versus not wanting to overreact. These women reestablished their baselines of nonthreatening symptoms at a higher level by setting a new normal to avoid the humiliation associated with appearing to overreact. Attempting to ignore recurring symptoms of preterm labor delayed help seeking and caused anxiety.
Conclusions: To avoid delayed help seeking, nursing interventions should be geared to reducing anxiety and validating the experiences of women with recurring preterm labor symptoms.