Pregnancy, motherhood and eating disorders: A qualitative study describing women’s views of maternity care

E Stringer, Stephanie Tierney, JR Fox, C Butterfield, Christine Furber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given that eating disorders (EDs) generally affect females of childbearing age, such conditions may occur during pregnancy. Yet there appears to be a lack of awareness within maternity services on how to manage and support women with EDs and there is limited evidence reflecting women’s experiences of such conditions during pregnancy.

To explore the experiences of pregnant women with an ED and during the early years of the child’s life, including their views of healthcare provision. Method. One-to-one, semi-structured interviews were used to collect data, either face to face or via telephone. Data were explored using framework analysis.

Analysis identified two main themes related to their experiences of midwifery care: professional awareness and type of care offered. Eight interviews were conducted with women at different stages of motherhood. Ethical approval was obtained from a local research ethics committee

The study implied that maternity and other healthcare professionals may lack the awareness and knowledge of EDs in order to provide appropriate, sensitive care, which can then impact on the mother’s experience of pregnancy and her behaviours during this period and beyond. Implications for practice and research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-121
Number of pages10
JournalEvidence-Based Midwifery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • research
  • eating disorders in pregnancy
  • semi-structured interviews
  • eating disorders
  • pregnancy
  • motherhood
  • services
  • evidence-based midwifery


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