Primigravida Experience of Childbirth and Parenthood: Part I

  • Avis Schreier Wits Medical School
  • Debra Danilewitz
  • Amelia Smyth Medical Research Council
Keywords: Pregnancy, Pregnancy unwanted, Mothers, Marital Relationship, Single Person, Adoption


There has been a steady increase in the number of unwed mothers in the community, but a decrease in the number of children being placed for adoption. A comparative study was undertaken at two Johannesburg hospitals of a selected sample of matched married mothers and unwed mothers, keeping their babies. A third group was identified ie those married after conception. Significant differences were found in age, education and occupational status, as well as family background between the single and married mothers. Fathers too differed significantly. Reactions to the pregnancy, incidence of contraceptive usage, smoking,alcohol and drug taking also differed significantly between the three as well as some differences in the self perceptions of the mothers. It was concluded that they were a neglected group who required much counseling and support. Single mothers were a more "at risk" group than married mothers.

Author Biographies

Avis Schreier, Wits Medical School
BA (Soc W) MA (Soc W) Wits Phd (Faculty of Medicine, Wits University) Dept of Paediatrics and Child Health
Debra Danilewitz
BSocSC (Soc W) UCT, Hons Psych (UNISA) M Ed (Educational Psychology, Wits University)
Amelia Smyth, Medical Research Council
BSc (Pretoria) Institute for Biostatics
Original Research