BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the emotional well-being of expecting mothers. Sweden's unique strategy for managing COVID-19 involved no national lockdown. Emphasis was instead placed on limiting crowding and asking citizens to practice social distancing measures.
AIM: To gain a deeper understanding of how women not infected by SARS-CoV-2 experienced pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden.
METHODS: This was a qualitative study with a reflective lifeworld approach. Fourteen women that had not contracted COVID-19 and who were pregnant during the first and second wave of the pandemic were interviewed. Data were analysed with a phenomenological reflective lifeworld approach.
FINDINGS: The essence of the women's experiences of being pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic was best described as being in the shadow of the unknown, where the COVID-19 pandemic could at times totally overshadow the experience of being pregnant, while at other times, rays of sunlight pierced through the clouds. The experience was characterised by having to deal with the uncertainties caused by the pandemic and feelings of being in an information echo. Women felt socially isolated and had to face maternal check-ups without the support of their partners. There was, however, a strong trust in maternal health-care services despite the lack of information available.
CONCLUSION: Being in the shadow of the unknown represents the uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic on the experience of pregnancy. Sufficient information, a companion of choice and screening for emotional well-being are important factors in maternity care during pandemics.
- Reproduktionsmedicin och gynekologi