Women's perceptions and experiences of fetal macrosomia.
Reid EW., McNeill JA., Holmes VA., Alderdice FA.
OBJECTIVE: to explore women's perceptions and experiences of pregnancy and childbirth following birth of a macrosomic infant (birth weight ≥4000g). METHODS: a qualitative design utilising interviews conducted 13-19 weeks post partum in women's homes. The study was conducted in one Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland between January and September 2010. Participants were identified from a larger cohort of women recruited to a prospective study exploring the impact of physical activity and nutrition on macrosomia. Eleven women who delivered macrosomic infants participated in this phase of the study. FINDINGS: four overarching themes emerged: preparation for delivery; physical and emotional impact of macrosomia; professional relations and perceptions of macrosomia. Findings highlighted the importance of communication with health professionals in relation to both prediction of macrosomia and decision making about childbirth, and offers further understanding into the physical and emotional impact of having a macrosomic infant on women. Furthermore, there was evidence that beliefs and perceptions relating to macrosomia may influence birth experiences and uptake of health promotion messages. KEY CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: this study provides important insight into women's experiences of macrosomia throughout the perinatal period and how they were influenced by previous birth experiences, professional relations and personal perceptions and beliefs about macrosomia. Pregnant women at risk of having a macrosomic infant may require extra support throughout the antenatal period continuing into the postnatal period. Support needs to be tailored to the woman's information needs, with time allocated to explore previous birth experiences, beliefs about macrosomia and options for childbirth.