Concealed pregnancy in 21st century Ireland. Concealing and revealing by explaining: the care study

There are many reasons why women choose to hide their pregnancy from friends and family and this study is trying to out why. Women who conceal a pregnancy are particularly vulnerable and may conceal right until, or even after, birth and as such represent an important issue for society. Risks of concealment are huge in terms of maternal and infant health, not to mention the impact on society. Despite the idealisation of pregnancy and motherhood, it can still represent a significant crisis for many women. Concealed pregnancy occurs in Ireland and in many other countries also. Reasons why women conceal pregnancies must be understood more fully in order to develop preventative interventions and strategies . A theory will be developed from women's accounts of the phenomenon and will identify the complex bio-psycho-social elements of these women's lives. Research to date has explored concealment retrospectively. This study is important as it proposes to explore the meaning of concealment from the mothers' perspective and explain the process of concealing and revealing as currently experienced by Irish women. This study engages with the voluntary sector in Ireland who provide accommodation services for women with crisis pregnancies who have not been involved in research heretofore. Critically no theoretical framework exists to guide practice in how maternity and community health and social services care for these women. Data from women who are or have concealed their pregnancy will be utilised to generate a grounded theory that explains why women choose this pathway. The theoretical framework that is developed will be used to underpin practice for healthcare professionals offering care and support.

Award Date
25 April 2013
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Ms Sylvia Murphy-Tighe
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Research Training Fellowships for Health Professionals