The Lived Experience of First-time Mothers with Congenital Heart Disease

Asian Nurs Res (Korean Soc Nurs Sci). 2022 Aug;16(3):140-148. doi: 10.1016/j.anr.2022.05.003. Epub 2022 May 24.


Purpose: Nowadays most children with congenital heart disease (CHD) are expected to survive to adulthood. The healthcare focus needs to pay close attention to the important developmental tasks during their growth process. The women with CHD face some challenges in their critically developmental stages during pregnancy, delivery, and even motherhood. The lived experience of being a mother needs to be further concerned. This study aimed to explore the lived experience of first-time mothers with CHD.

Methods: Descriptive phenomenological design was adopted. Semi-structured interviews were conducted from April to August 2018 with 11 primiparous women with CHD, who were recruited from the pediatric and adult cardiology outpatient departments at a medical center and who had a child aged between 6 months and 3 years. Giorgi's phenomenological analysis method was employed.

Results: Six main themes arose from the analysis: (1) recognizing pregnancy risks, (2) performing self-care for health, (3) building self-worth from my baby, (4) adapting to postpartum life and adjusting priorities, (5) enjoying being a first-time mother, and (6) the factors contributing to success in high-risk childbirth.

Conclusions: The experiences that occurred prior to and after labor that were identified in this study can assist women with CHD to more capably prepare for and understand the process of becoming a mother, including recognition of the importance of a prepregnancy evaluation. The findings of this study can help women with CHD to better understand the path to becoming a mother and prepare themselves for the challenges that lie ahead.

Keywords: congenital; heart defects; mothers; pregnancy; qualitative research.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mothers*
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Qualitative Research