Views on Physiological and Psychological Changes and Their Influence on Maternity Wear Selection among Women Attending Ante-Natal Clinic at Kenyatta National Hospital
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The pregnancy period in human beings is divided into three trimesters. During this period expectant women experience psychological, behavioral and biological changes that make them more sensitive about their bodies. This is due to dramatic body changes, which to some extent trigger negative thoughts and feelings in some women. With the wide variety of body shapes and sizes, physiological changes occur differently for every pregnant woman. These variations lead to problems of comfort, fit and sizing of maternity wear especially if not well selected. Despite an increasing interest in fashion and clothing, researchers in Kenya have conducted limited study about dressing and adorning the pregnant body. This leaves pregnant women with minimal sources of reference thus relying on trial and error or copying what other pregnant women wear. Therefore there is need for a study that focuses on the views on physiological and psychological changes and their influence on maternity wear selection among expectant women. The objectives of the study were to: identify the views of young expectant women aged 16-35 years regarding their physical body changes during pregnancy, establish the views of these young expectant women regarding their psychological changes during pregnancy, determine the physiological and psychological changes that influence maternity wear selection, discuss the social economic factors that influence maternity wear selection among these young expectant women and determine dress features that influence maternity wear selection among these young expectant women. The researcher adopted a descriptive research design to collect data, analyze and present. Pre-testing was done on a sample of 12 respondents attending ante-natal clinics at KNH to avoid ambiguity of the instruments. Convenience sampling was used to select 96 young expectant women. Interview schedules and questionnaires with open-ended and closed-ended items were used to collect data. Frequencies and percentages were used to summarize variables relating to demographic characteristics, young expectant women’s views on physiological and psychological changes and maternity wear selection. Data was grouped and summarized in tables and graphs. Open ended items were analyzed in relation to the responses given by the respondents while the quantitative aspects were analyzed using Microsoft Excel. The findings indicated that young expectant women experience dramatic changes in their body silhouette, measurement, posture and weight which they viewed either positively or negatively. It was also revealed that the young expectant women experienced psychological changes like anxiety, joy, stress, fear and depression with the outstanding one being anxiety as a result of the changes in their physical body. Most of the respondents were not happy with the psychological changes, which made them select maternity wear that was either ill-fitting or oversized. Furthermore, physiological and psychological changes did not influence the young expectant women when selecting their maternity wear. In addition, socioeconomic factors like availability of money, cost of item, age and marital status highly influenced the respondents when selecting their maternity wear. Finally, all the young expectant women were influenced by colour when selecting their maternity wear. It was therefore concluded that young expectant women experience different views on physiological and psychological changes that influenced their maternity wear selection. Disparity in the way the young expectant women view these changes creates a need for each one of them to understand how to select maternity wear that is suitable in terms of sizing, fit and comfort. Ante-natal clinics in Kenya should consider including lessons on views on physiological and psychological changes and their influence on maternity wear selection among expectant women in their program.