Prenatal Motivation for Caregiving Issues: A Pilot Study of Mothers Expecting Healthy Infants and Infants With Complex Congenital Heart Disease

Karen Pridham, Anne Chevalier McKechnie, Tondi M Harrison, Roger Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose: The prenatal preparing women do for infant caregiving is understudied. In this pilot, multimethods study, we examined motivation for preparing for infant caregiving of women in their third trimester of pregnancy expecting either a healthy infant or an infant with complex congenital heart disease (CCHD). Methods: Eleven women expecting a healthy infant and four expecting an infant with CCHD completed a questionnaire and were interviewed. Preparing was reported in context of expectations, intentions, and goals and in personal, family, and infant conditions. Motivation for preparing was expressed through an interview about caregiving issues women were working on. Intensity of motivation was estimated by self-report of the time infant caregiving issues were in thought or action. Effect sizes were calculated for between group differences in motivation intensity. Interview data were examined with directed content analysis. Results: Intensity of motivation was higher for women expecting an infant with CCHD for issues of Knowing What and How to prepare. Women expecting an infant with CCHD reported uncertainty about how they would feed their babies given their health condition. Interviews yielded new motivations encompassing issues of family and working with the parent partner. Implications: Assessment of issues women are working on prenatally, indicating motivations for preparing for infant caregiving, and of the intensity of motivations advances culturally-attuned and family-centered preparation. Knowledge of these issues and motivation intensity could orient clinical care to supporting women in developing well-informed expectations, intentions, and goals culturally suited to postnatal learning and infant needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-345
Number of pages20
JournalResearch and Theory for Nursing Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Shelly Malin, PhD, RN, for contributing to the design of the study, implementation of the study in the clinical setting, development of research instruments, and collection and management of data; Vanessa Barnabei, MD, for contributions to research design and for support of the study and its implementation in a clinical setting; Cheryl Brosig, PhD, Mary Krolikowski, MSN, RN, Janet Melby, PhD, and Kathleen Mussatto, PhD, RN, for their contributions to questionnaire development; Diane Dooley, BA, for facilitation of data collection and for data management; Julie Deavers, BS, for data collection; Jeffrey Henriques, PhD, for mounting the questionnaire on Qualtics; Anthony Schiefelbein for data analysis; and Katherine Lemley, PhD, RN, for review of the manuscript and editing.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2021 Springer Publishing Company, LLC.


  • congenital heart disease
  • infant caregiving
  • motivation
  • prenatal care

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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