Objective To explore the construal of midwives by pregnant women with a body mass index greater than 30 kg/m2 (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Method Ten pregnant women with a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 were recruited from antenatal clinics at a maternity hospital in the North West of England. Each participant completed a repertory grid. The participants chose people to match roles including themselves, pregnant women, midwives of different BMIs and hypothetical elements. They also generated psychological constructs to describe them. Results Pregnant women with a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 construed themselves as vulnerable and self-conscious. Some women endorsed obesity-related stereotypes for themselves and felt responsible for their weight. The midwife with a BMI 18 < 30 kg/m2 was considered to be most similar to the ideal midwife, while the midwife with a BMI ≤ 18 kg/m2 was construed as having an undesirable interpersonal style. The midwife with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2 was often construed as sharing similar experiences to the pregnant women with a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2, such as struggling with the psychological consequences of a raised BMI. Some women construed the midwife with a BMI 30 < 40 kg/m2 in a positive way, whereas others viewed it as sharing similar feelings about weight as the midwife with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2. Conclusions The pregnant women with a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 in this study described perceptions of themselves and the midwives responsible for their care, which may affect their engagement and satisfaction with services. Pregnant women with a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 should be involved in service development activities to ensure the structure of services and the language used by midwives are acceptable and do not confirm weight-related stereotypes
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31 Dec 2014
Supervisor: Wittkowski, A. (Supervisor) & Hare, D. (Supervisor)
Student thesis: Doctor of Clinical PsychologyFile