MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Conceptualising women's perinatal well-being: A systematic review of theoretical discussions

    Wadephul, Franziska and Glover, Lesley and Jomeen, Julie (2020) Conceptualising women's perinatal well-being: A systematic review of theoretical discussions. Midwifery, 81 (102598). ISSN 0266-6138

    Download (983kB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    Background: Perinatal well-being has increasingly become the focus of research, clinical practice and policy. However, attention has mostly been on a reductionist understanding of well-being based on a mind-body duality. Conceptual clarity around what constitutes well-being beyond this is lacking. Aim: To systematically review theoretical discussions of perinatal well-being in the academic literature. Design and methods: A search of online databases identified papers which discussed perinatal well-being theoretically, taking a multi-dimensional approach to well-being. Thematic synthesis was used to identify and synthesize relevant elements within the included papers. Findings: Eight papers were identified for inclusion in this review. All contributed a number of elements towards a theoretical discussion of perinatal well-being. Three themes were developed: (1) the impor- tance of a number of general domains of women’s lives and domains specific to the perinatal period, (2) well-being as a subjective and individual experience with physical/embodied, affective, and psychologi- cal/cognitive aspects, and (3) the dynamic nature of well-being. Conclusions and implications for practice: Perinatal well-being is a complex, multi-dimensional construct. Current theoretical discussions in the academic literature do not provide a comprehensive model or con- ceptualisation covering all aspects of well-being during the perinatal period. Further theoretical work is required, particularly with regards to theorising well-being during labour and birth, the perinatal period as a continuum, and the role played by women’s expectations. The themes identified in this review con- tribute to a tentative model of perinatal well-being, taking note particularly of the dynamic nature of well-being. This model should be refined and validated through empirical work and can then be used to underpin further research and the development of a multi-dimensional measure of perinatal well-being.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Cite as: Franziska Wadephul, Lesley Glover, Julie Jomeen, Conceptualising women's perinatal well-being: A systematic review of theoretical discussions, Midwifery, Volume 81, 2020, 102598, ISSN 0266-6138, (
    Keywords: Perinatal well-being; Maternal well-being; Pregnancy; Birth; Postnatal; Systematic review;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 15387
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Franziska Wadephul
    Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2022 14:55
    Journal or Publication Title: Midwifery
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

    Repository Staff Only(login required)

    View Item Item control page


    Downloads per month over past year

    Origin of downloads