An exploration of women's perceptions and lived experiences of domestic violence and abuse in the context of their pregnancy.
PhD, University of the West of England.
This thesis reports on a qualitative study exploring women's experiences of domestic violence before, during and after pregnancy. The research employed a qualitative framework underpinned by feminist and phenomenological values and philosophy. Feminism and phenomenology were integrated in order to strengthen the philosophical foundation in an attempt to gain a richer and deeper understanding of the human lived experience.
Data were collected from seventeen interviews undertaken with eleven women who had been pregnant in the previous two years, using unstructured interviews. The interviews focused on the participants’ unique accounts, appreciating their different experiences and interpretations of living with domestic violence. Thematic analysis of the data was used to identify common themes.
Findings suggest the women welcomed the opportunity to talk about their own personal experiences of violence, which they believed had been triggered by their pregnancy. Only two pregnancies were planned, with almost a third of the women being coerced into motherhood by their partner. Feelings of vulnerability about themselves and their unborn babies were intensified by their partners’ continuing violence and abuse.
Responsive service developments were also explored in the interviews. The women described what they would have found helpful, from healthcare professionals and services during their pregnancies.
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