University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: RRJMHS
High-risk pregnancy refers to a pregnancy that negatively affects the health of the mother, the baby, or both, and evoking a range of emotional/psychological experiences. Research on high-risk pregnancy is predominantly found in the medical arena, while women’s emotional/psychological experiences are not sufficiently documented. For this reason, the objective of this study was to examine the medical conditions and complications in the reviewed articles that make a pregnancy high-risk, while at the same time investigating the emotional/psychological experiences of women throughout their high-risk pregnancies. The systematic review examined qualitative studies, including the qualitative components of mixed method studies published between January 2006 and June 2017. The databases searched are EbscoHost, JSTOR, Sage Journals Online, ScienceDirect, SpringerLink, Sabinet, Scopus, Emerald eJournals Premier, Pubmed, as well as Taylor and Francis Open Access eJournals. The study evaluated the literature found on these databases for methodological quality by using three stages of review (i.e. abstract reading, title reading, and full-text reading) and applying a meta-synthesis to the current evidence on the research topic. The findings provide empirical evidence based on sound research that medical conditions and complications (i.e. HELLP syndrome, thrombophilia, gestational diabetes, maternal near-miss syndrome, fetal abnormality, preterm birth, hypertension, and uterine rupture) are associated with women’s emotional/psychological experiences (i.e. fear, shock, feeling frightened, sadness, worry, alienation, frustration, grief, guilt, anger, ambivalence, despair, upset, loneliness and isolation, anxiety, depression, and PTSD) throughout their high-risk pregnancies. As a result of this, survivors of severe pregnancy complications have subsequent psychological and emotional challenges.