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


Rouhi, M and Stirling, C and Crisp, EP, The fallacy of normalcy': a content analysis of women's online post-childbirth health-related support, Women and Birth pp. 1-9. ISSN 1871-5192 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

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

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.wombi.2020.04.007


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 Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:online analysis, health literacy, morbidity, mothers, online support group, peer support, postpartum
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health counselling
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Health education and promotion
UTAS Author:Rouhi, M (Mrs Maryam Rouhi)
UTAS Author:Stirling, C (Professor Christine Stirling)
UTAS Author:Crisp, EP (Dr Elaine Crisp)
ID Code:139379
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Nursing
Deposited On:2020-06-12
Last Modified:2021-07-05

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