Supporting Caregivers in Pregnancy: A Qualitative Study of Their Activities and Roles
Jackson, Gretchen Purcell
Novak, Laurie L.
Background: The significant role of lay caregivers has been explored in chronic and acute illnesses. In pregnancy, caregivers' (eg, the baby's father, friends, and family) roles in promoting the health of the mother and baby are not well understood. Objective: We characterize the activities and roles of pregnancy caregivers and offer opportunities for engaging this important group. Method: We conducted interviews with 29 pregnancy caregivers. Interview transcripts were analyzed inductively, resulting in a coding scheme of actions and roles that pregnancy caregivers perform. Results: The most common actions and roles included searching for information (97%), accompanying patients to medical appointments (69%), and being a source of emotional support (76%). Identified actions and roles fit a patient work framework, including work types identified by Corbin and Strauss: illness, everyday life, biographical, articulation, and invisible. Conclusion: The patient work framework can be employed to describe the activities and roles of pregnancy caregivers. We have contributed new insights into the experiences of pregnancy caregivers and recommendations for educational and technological interventions.