Women's experiences of attending a creative arts program during their pregnancy
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Aim This small qualitative study aimed to explore pregnant women's experiences of participating in a pregnancy program designed around the use of creative activities. Background Increasingly childbirth, in resource rich countries, is considered a medical event with limited attention paid to the emotional aspects of pregnancy. However, the use of the creative arts to promote physical and emotional health and well-being has also gained increasing acknowledgement and recognition. Based on this latter literature, a program of activities including singing, dancing, storytelling and weaving was developed for pregnant women. Method A qualitative descriptive approach was employed. Seven pregnant women participated in six 2-h creative activity sessions. Data were collected using diaries, interviews, field notes and a brief questionnaire. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data. Findings Four themes, labelled 'Seeking support', 'Connecting with each other, myself and the baby', 'Finding a place to share, learn and grow,' and 'Finding balance' were identified. The findings suggest that participating in the program afforded women social support, a sense of connection with each other and enhanced perceptions of emotional well-being during pregnancy. Discussion The findings provide preliminary evidence that engaging in creative activities during pregnancy may enhance women's sense of emotional well-being. In addition, the findings confirm the growing body of literature that suggests that when childbearing women come together in a supportive sharing environment an opportunity is created whereby women learn or regain their cultural knowledge about birth and feel confident to make the decisions that best meet their own individual needs and preferences. Although the creative activities program was not designed to prepare women for birth it facilitated the sharing of information which appeared to increase the women's confidence and sense of competence to give birth and transition into motherhood. Conclusion While the number of women attending the program was small, the positive experiences expressed by participants warrant further development, implementation and investigation of similar approaches to childbirth preparation. Based on this study, it would seem that such a program is indeed feasible and that women would attend.
Women and Birth
© 2010 Elsevier. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Nursing not elsewhere classified