5 years ago

An Exploration of Co-parenting in the Context of Caring for a Child Prenatally Diagnosed and Born with a Complex Health Condition

Katherine M. Martin, Jamie Rogstad, Anne Chevalier Mckechnie, Karen F. Pridham
Aim To describe co-parenting communication in couples in the context of caregiving for children prenatally diagnosed and born with complex health conditions. Background Fetal diagnosis of complex health conditions such as heart, central nervous system, or abdominal anomalies are confirmed more often than ever before. Following diagnosis, parents face challenges beginning before birth. The quality of co-parenting, when two individuals relate to each other as parents and share parental responsibilities, can have an impact on child health and development. Yet little is known about co-parenting during the transition to parenthood after fetal diagnosis. Design This secondary analysis of interview data was informed by Bowlby's theoretical work on a parent's view of self as caregiver and the literature on co-parenting. Methods Data were drawn from a larger, mixed methods, longitudinal study and included audio-recorded interviews conducted with 16 parents participating as eight couples after fetal diagnosis during the third trimester of pregnancy in 2011-2012 and again when children were 14-37 months old in 2014. Analysis of interviews transcribed verbatim focused on co-parenting communication. Findings Co-parenting communication regarding support, agreement and information sharing and a new category of shared meaning were related to the diagnosis before birth. Later, couples evolved in their co-parenting communication while caring for their toddlers and working toward achieving a sense of normalcy. Conclusion Variation in co-parenting communication among couples preparing and caring for children with complex health conditions, including the development of a shared meaning of the child's diagnosis, needs further investigation to inform nursing assessment and guide tailored interventions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/jan.13415

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