'Space to talk': a Portuguese focus group study of parents' experiences, needs and preferences in parenting support during prenatal and well-child care

Filipa Fareleira, Maria Raul Xavier, Filipa Tavares de Lima*, Helena Sampaio Reis, Julia Velte, Carlos Martins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To explore the experiences, needs and preferences of a group of parents regarding the parenting support received during prenatal and well-child care in the Portuguese National Health Service. DESIGN AND SETTING: We undertook descriptive-interpretive qualitative research running multiple focus groups in Porto, Northern Portugal. PARTICIPANTS, DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Purposive sampling was used between April and November 2018. Focus groups were conducted with 11 parents of a 0-3 years old with well-child visits done in primary care units. Thematic analysis was performed in a broadly inductive coding strategy and findings are reported in accordance with Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research guidelines. RESULTS: Three main themes were identified to describe parents' experience when participating in their children's healthcare: (1) logistics/delivery matter, including accessibility, organisation and provision of healthcare activities, unit setting and available equipment; (2) prenatal and well-child care: a relational place to communicate, with parents valuing a tripartite space for the baby, the family and the parent himself, where an available and caring health provider plays a major role and (3) parenting is challenging and looks for support, based on key points for providers to watch for and ask about, carefully explained and consensual among health providers. CONCLUSION: This study provides insight into parents' needs and healthcare practices that affect the parenting experience. To meet parents' preferences, sensitive health providers should guarantee a relational place to communicate and person-centredness, accounting for the whole family system to support healthy parenting collaboratively. Future studies are warranted to further strengthen the knowledge in the field of a population-based approach for parenting support.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere066627
Number of pages13
JournalBMJ Open
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Community child health
  • Preventive medicine
  • Primary care
  • Qualitative research

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