This research explores the experiences of women going through pregnancy, childbirth and concurrent spousal deployment (PCD), in order to increase understanding of related issues among health care providers (HCPs) and support personnel.
Pregnancy and childbirth are life-altering events. For military families, pregnancy and childbirth can occur in tandem with the family's experience of a military deployment. The central issue is that an overseas deployment of an intimate partner introduces unique stressors and responsibilities that can challenge a pregnancy and increase the risk of preterm delivery and postpartum depression. The objective of this study was to extend current understanding, from the perspective of women in Canadian military families, of how pregnancy and childbirth are experienced during an intimate partner's military deployment. The meaning of the experience of pregnancy, childbirth, and deployment was both integrated and opposing. Women experienced simultaneously being by myself, physically alone or in a world that did not understand their experience, and believing in us, the possibility of having a child, of a partner's return, and of becoming a family. Sub-themes that provided further understanding of the experience included: working it out time wise, longing for togetherness, appreciating technology, protecting us, knowing that somebody is there, and homecoming. The implications of this study include laying a foundation for future research and guiding improvements for supportive perinatal care.
Being by myself and believing in us: the experience of pregnancy and childbirth during an intimate partner's military deployment. Patchell et al. Volume: 2, Issue: 1, pp. 19-27.