An exploration of women's experiences of attending a high risk obstetric clinic

  • Suzanne Thomas

Student thesis: Unknown


Abstract The University of ManchesterSuzanne ThomasMaster of Philosophy (MPhil)An exploration of women's experiences of attending a high risk obstetric clinic2011Background: Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR), the failure of a fetus to reach its growth potential, affects 3-5% of pregnancies. FGR is a key cause of stillbirth and has serious short and long term health implications for babies who survive. Currently there is no effective treatment to prevent or reverse established FGR, therefore management is focused on detection, surveillance and timely delivery. The high risk multidisciplinary clinic at the focus of this research provides care for women at risk of placental dysfunction, the leading cause of FGR, and is the first of its kind in the UK. This research sought to explore women's experiences of attending a high risk obstetric clinic, with the aim of informing care. Ethical approval was given by the local research ethics committee. Methods: A qualitative method, using a hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used. A purposive sample of five women with pregnancies at risk of FGR, were included. Data were collected longitudinally, using three semi-structured interviews, from referral to the high risk clinic through to the postnatal period to capture evolving experiences and needs. Thematic analysis was conducted to identify the emerging phenomena. Findings: Three main themes and several subthemes emerged from the data. These included; 'Evolving coping strategies', 'Management of expectations' and 'It doesn't just happen to me'. Synthesis of the main themes and subthemes led to the emergence of the overarching phenomenon which underpins women's experiences of attending this particular high risk clinic. This study found that women utilise multiple internal and external factors to negotiate their pregnancies, drawing upon experiences, relationships and evolving coping strategies. Conclusion: In conclusion, this journey provided an opportunity for women to voice their experiences within the context of a high risk obstetric clinic. This has provided a unique phenomenon which adds to the body of knowledge surrounding high risk pregnancies and has informed the future care of other women in the high risk obstetric clinic.
Date of Award1 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorTina Lavender (Supervisor) & Linda Mcgowan (Supervisor)


  • Fetal Growth Restriction
  • High risk pregnancy
  • Phenomenology
  • Women's experiences

Cite this