A qualitative study of women's views on the acceptability of being asked about mental health problems at antenatal booking appointments

Emma Jane Yapp, Louise Michele Howard, Meeriam Kadicheeni, Laurence Telesia, Jeanette Milgrom, Kylee Hutton Trevillion

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Abstract

Objective
To explore women's views on the acceptability of being asked about mental health problems at antenatal booking.

Design
Qualitative study.

Setting
Brief semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with women in a private setting at a hospital, or at women's homes. Interview discussions centered around three key questions: “What was it like for you
answering the questions about your mood?”, “Were there any questions you found upsetting, distressing or confronting?” and “Did the midwife give you some feedback about your answers?”

Measurements
Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using thematic and framework approaches.

Participants
An ethnically diverse sample [32% white British/Irish, 68% non-white, non-British] of 52 women living in the study area.

Findings
Most women found mental health enquiry acceptable. A smaller proportion reported difficulties and many of these women had a past or current mental health problem and/or a history of abuse. These women reported
difficulty due to the emotional responses triggered by the questions and the way disclosures were handled. In general, women wanted to be asked clear questions about mental health problems, to have sufficient time to
discuss issues, and to receive responses from midwives which were normalising and well-informed about mental health.

Conclusions
This study highlights that women want midwives to ask clearly-framed questions about mental health problems [addressing past and current mental health concerns], and valued responses from midwives that are normalising, well-informed, and allow for discussion.

Implications for practice
Training should be provided to midwives on how to appropriately respond to women's distress during mental health enquiry, and on referral to support services.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMIDWIFERY
Early online date29 Mar 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Mar 2019

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