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Keywords

Advanced maternal age, Older Women, Pregnancy, Phenomenology, Single women.

 

Authors

  1. Mandel, Deborah PhD, RNC-OB, APN

Abstract

Purpose: To explore the lived experience of single older women (35 years or older at time of birth) who experienced complications in their planned pregnancy.

 

Design and Methods: Phenomenology, using semistructured interviews with 11 women between the ages of 35 to 48 years.

 

Results: Six themes emerged: (a) motherhood now or never, (b) the known and unknown, (c) importance of support, (d) the stigma of single motherhood, (e) changing priorities, and (f) long-term concerns for themselves and child/children.

 

Clinical Implications: Nurses who work with pregnant women should understand as much as possible about the issues affecting older single women who choose pregnancy; this offers the best opportunity to provide comprehensive care. These women can be at increased risk for many pregnancy complications, and should receive counseling about their risks for both fetal and maternal complications. Nurses should also conduct a thorough psychosocial assessment to determine what support systems are in place and what resources are available if complications arise. In the intrapartum and postpartum settings, nurses can offer not only appropriate physical caregiving but also a supportive and caring attitude with women in this circumstance. Helping women maintain a sense of control by helping them to participate in their care planning is essential.