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The ‘fallacy of normalcy’: a content analysis of women's online post-childbirth health-related support

Rouhi, M ORCID: 0000-0003-3722-5433, Stirling, C ORCID: 0000-0003-2723-8302 and Crisp, EP ORCID: 0000-0003-2154-3568 2020 , 'The ‘fallacy of normalcy’: a content analysis of women's online post-childbirth health-related support' , Women and Birth , pp. 1-9 , doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2020.04.007.

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Abstract

Background: Online forums have changed traditional sources of seeking help because they provide an anonymous and non-judgemental environment particularly suited for women with post-childbirth problems. Question: What support is given to mothers who have posted questions about post-childbirth morbidities? Methods: A total of 333 messages posted on a post-childbirth online forum were loaded into NVIVO 12 Pro and were analysed using content and thematic analysis. Content analysis identified the major health problems, and thematic analysis was used for identifying motivations and the support offered. Findings: Seventeen different health problems were discussed on posts, with a strong emphasis on pelvic problems, followed by mental health concerns. The key motivation for seeking online help identified using 'typology of advice solicitation' was request for opinion or information (48.85%). The two main support themes were: peer to peer support (82%) and normalisation (not always appropriate) of post-childbirth problems (18%). Most of the support offered was emotional (56.9%) followed by practical (22.7%) and informational support (20.4%). Discussion: Postpartum adjustment of post-childbirth experiences can be supportive but if ill-informed may provide a barrier to safe and reliable health care. Conclusion: We recommend women have access to online forums moderated by healthcare providers who can notify participants when a problem requires support from a relevant health professional opinion.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Rouhi, M and Stirling, C and Crisp, EP
Keywords: online analysis, health literacy, morbidity, mothers, online support group, peer support, postpartum
Journal or Publication Title: Women and Birth
Publisher: Elsevier BV
ISSN: 1871-5192
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.wombi.2020.04.007
Copyright Information:

Crown Copyright © 2020 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Australian College of Midwives. All rights reserved.

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