The postnatal support needs of mothers with an intellectual disability

Author: Wilson, S., McKenzie, K., Quayle, E., & Murray, G.
Year: 2013
Reference Type: Journal Article
Journal/Book Title: Midwifery
Volume: 29
Issue: 6
Pages: 592-598
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: there is growing evidence that many parents with intellectual disabilities can parent successfully when given adequate support. This paper aims to explore the postnatal care experiences of mothers with an intellectual disability. DESIGN: a qualitative design was used and data were collected using a semi-structured interview format and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. SETTING: the study took place in community settings in Scotland. PARTICIPANTS: six mothers with intellectual disabilities were interviewed about their experiences. MEASUREMENTS AND FINDINGS: two super-ordinate themes are discussed with accompanying subthemes: challenges of providing support and how support was delivered. KEY CONCLUSIONS: the mothers valued formal postnatal care, but this was secondary to informal support. How mothers perceived the support impacted on its effectiveness and building effective relationships with professionals presented challenges. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: the study suggests the structure and quality of the wider support networks of mothers with an intellectual disability are central and should be taken account of by professionals. Providing information and advice in ways that validates the mother's role is also important, particularly as the mother's perception of how help is given can impact on the degree to which mothers engage with professionals.

The Parenting Research Centre acknowledges and respects the diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of this country and the Elders of the past, present and future.