Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Exploration of the experiences of young mothers seeking and accessing health services.

Robb, Yvonne; McInery, Deirdre; Hollins Martin, Caroline J


Yvonne Robb

Deirdre McInery


The objective was to explore young mothers’ experiences of seeking and accessing health services, specifically maternity care. Study design: a phenomenological approach underpinned by the work of Husserl and guided by the framework offered by Giorgi. Participants: a purposive sample of seven young mothers took part in audio-recorded unstructured interviews in either the young mother’s home or in a private room at their GP practice. Findings: six themes emerged from the initial thematic analysis: (1) feeling abandoned, (2) information is vital, (3) feeling judged, (4) family and friends, (5) interference, (6) younger mothers need additional support. After ‘bracketing’ the preconceptions evident in the initial analysis, essential themes describing the young mothers’ experience of accessing healthcare were identified: (1) the need for support and information; (2) fear of stigmatisation and stigmatisation of self. Conclusions: the young mothers in this study experienced a need for support and information, which reflects the findings of previous studies. This study has added to the knowledge base as it also found that these young mothers were hindered from obtaining or making use of available support and information through fear or expectation of stigmatisation and self-stigmatisation. There is a need to improve availability of support and information for young mothers, who may benefit from one-to-one education to help them gain confidence to deal with pregnancy and parenthood issues. Further research on young mothers’ perceptions of maternity service provision will advance understanding of young mothers’ help and support needs during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period.


Robb, Y., McInery, D., & Hollins Martin, C. J. (2013). Exploration of the experiences of young mothers seeking and accessing health services. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 31, 399-412.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 4, 2013
Deposit Date Aug 5, 2015
Publicly Available Date Aug 5, 2015
Print ISSN 0264-6838
Electronic ISSN 1469-672X
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Pages 399-412
Keywords Young mothers; support; stigmatisation; self-stigmatisation; Husserl phenomenology; experiences;
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations