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Coping in Healthy Primigravidae Pregnant Women


Kathy E. Borcherding, PhD, RN, College of Nursing at University of Missouri-St. Louis, One University Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63121-4400.


Objective: To describe coping in healthy pregnant women and examine sociodemographic factors associated with coping styles.

Design: A cross-sectional descriptive survey.

Setting: Childbirth classes at 2 Midwestern urban hospitals.

Participants: Healthy primigravidae (N=159), ages 18 to 34, in their third trimester.

Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive survey of healthy pregnant women using 2 reliable coping tools to measure pregnancy coping and general coping styles and determine their associations with sociodemographic factors.

Results: Prayer and task coping were the most frequently used coping styles; avoidance and emotion coping were used least frequently. Younger age was associated with greater use of preparation and distraction coping. Non-White race was associated with frequent use of prayer, task, and distraction coping. Education less than graduate school was associated with frequent use of preparation.

Conclusion: Healthy pregnant women used a variety of coping styles, and sociodemographic factors influenced them. Future research requires diverse samples to explore prayer in pregnancy and the influence of stress and other psychological factors on coping styles. Nurses have many opportunities to assess coping during pregnancy. Nurse-directed community-based programs that promote healthy coping can optimize maternal and newborn health.