Symptoms of preterm labor and self-diagnostic confusion

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this study was to learn how women experiencing preterm labor come to know a health deviation exists, and what they do when faced with such a problem. Grounded theory methodology was used as the research approach. Extensive interviews were conducted with 28 women about their cam-seeking experiences with preterm labor. Ambiguous symptoms, absence of a meaningful label to attach to symptoms, and the context of pregnancy with its expected discomforts come together to create a situation of diagnostic confusion. Appropriate action to take in response to the diagnostic confusion is not self-evident. Deliberate and protracted efforts to make sense of and deal with symptoms of preterm labor are attempted. Making sense consists of three subprocesses: Comparing, gathering data, and seeking information. Strategies used to deal with the symptoms include self-treating, ignoring, positive thinking, and waiting. Recourse to a professional is used as the strategy of last resort when symptoms can no longer be contained. © Lippincott-Raven Publishers.
  • Published In

  • Nursing Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Patterson ET; Douglas AB; Patterson PM; Bradle JB
  • Start Page

  • 367
  • End Page

  • 372
  • Volume

  • 41
  • Issue

  • 6