Background. Rarely have women's experiences of admission to hospital during pre-term labor (PTL) been described from their own perspective. This study aimed to address this issue using qualitative methods. Methods. The views of 8 women admitted to hospital with PTL were obtained through semi-structured interviews. Issues explored included understanding of their condition, expectations concerning delivery, and their views about hospital admission. Results. A key aspect of women's experiences concerned their search for meaning to help them make sense of their sudden and unexpected hospital admission. Several women continued to feel anxious despite assurances from staff that everything was ‘OK’, whereas others had overcome initial anxiety and were excited about the imminent birth. There was consensus that the information received whilst in hospital was inconsistent, and some women believed that their concerns were being ‘ignored’. Some women attributed PTL to daily stress, such as working long hours. Social support from women's mothers and other patients appeared important. Several women had been ambivalent about their pregnancy in the early stages, but were now in a place of acceptance. Two women reported previous childbirth experiences that were viewed as distressing. PTL had motivated some women to re-evaluate their lifestyle. Conclusions. Women admitted to hospital in PTL could be assisted in their search for meaning by provision of consistent information, having their views acknowledged, satisfactory social support, and dealing with any previous history of perceived traumatic birth experiences
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This is an electronic version of an article published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynaecologica Scandinavica 86 (4). Acta Obstetricia et Gynaecologica Scandinavica is available online at:
- Pre-term labor
- hospital admission
- women's experiences