Pregnant in Puerto Rico: Maternal Perceptions of Zika- and Non-Zika Related Stress Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/undergraduate_thesis_or_projects/th83m006v

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  • The purpose of this study was to examine pregnant Puerto Rican women’s perspectives on the Zika virus threat. Using data collected from open-ended, semi-structured interviews and observational field notes, we aimed to understand the degree to which Zika contributes to maternal stress. How concerned are pregnant women in Puerto Rico about Zika and its potential impact on their babies? Do they feel they have enough information to avoid vertical transmission? How concerning is Zika relative to the other daily stressors pregnant Puerto Rican women must navigate? Interview transcripts from twenty-five participants were consensus coded by three researchers; four key theme emerged: 1) Pervasive socioeconomic stress; 2) Zika as a government conspiracy and politicized issue; 3) Fear of microcephaly and Zika-related birth defects; and 4) Gendered stress, inequality and social pressures. Our findings indicate that while Puerto Rican and international public health professionals are heavily focused on Zika education and transmission prevention, women in our study experienced far less Zika-related stress than non-Zika related stress. Pregnant Puerto Rican women are primarily concerned with economic, social, and familial/relationship-level stressors. Zika is often seen as a more easily controlled stressor relative to the larger micro- and macro-level stressors that emerge from Puerto Rico’s current economic crisis. Any Zika-related stress is experienced primarily in the first trimester and as a compounder of already existing economic distress. Findings have implications for the structure and delivery of maternity care in Puerto Rico, as well as for Zika prevention messaging.
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