A phenomenological study exploring the lived psychological and social support experiences of women during a past high risk pregnancy (pre-eclampsia) at a public hospital in the Western Cape
This research project can be defined as an in-depth qualitative study. The research question was: How does social support affect women's psychological experiences during a pre-eclamptic high risk pregnancy? The main objectives were to explore, understand, and describe women's psychological state and perceived support during their past high risk pregnancy. For the purposes of this study, psychological experiences shall include emotions, feelings and thoughts and social support will be conceptualised as form of interpersonal interactions in which assistance is offered to another. The fieldwork was conducted at a public hospital in the Western Cape. Six women, who have previously experienced pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, were interviewed and asked to reflect retrospectively on their psychological and social support experiences during their high risk pregnancy. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. The theoretical framework that was used was phenomenological inquiry and the analytic tool was phenomenological analysis. The main themes that emerged were psychological distress, positive and negative experiences of social support. The subthemes encompassed the various emotions identified by the women, and the various social support experiences.