Date of Award

Fall 1-8-2021

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Sarah McCool, PhD, MPH, MHA

Second Advisor

Kathleen Baggett, Ph.D.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

RESEARCH PROPOSAL: COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND BIRTH EXPERIENCES: DESCRIBING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN POLICIES AND THE BIRTH EXPERIENCES OF GEORGIA MOTHERS

By

KATHERINE RAECHEL THORNBURGH

B.S., KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY

December 5, 2020

INTRODUCTION: A pandemic such as COVID-19 increases stress during pregnancy or early development that can have an adverse effect on the health of an individual. Additionally, COVID-19 affects pregnancy and birth experiences by reducing the number of support personnel and the number of in-person appointments, and possibly potentially separating mother and newborn in the case of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 status.

The purpose of this capstone is to present a compelling research proposal titled, “COVID-19 Pandemic and Birth Experiences: Describing the Relationship Between Policies and the Birth Experiences of Georgia Mothers” with the following aims:

Specific Aim 1: Describe mothers’ perspectives of COVID-19 policies on their birth experiences and birth plans. To meet this aim, a semi-structured interview will be conducted that inquires on the changes made to mothers’ intended birth plan and how COVID-19 policies affected mothers’ birth experiences—both negatively and positively.

Specific Aim 2: Describe mothers’ perceptions of fair and equitable treatment during pregnancy. To meet this aim, a semi-structured interview will be given to respondents that inquires on personal perceptions of fair and equitable treatment. To meet this aim, respondents will be asked if they felt that all of their questions regarding their pregnancy were being answered, if they felt adequately prepared for labor and post-partum care, and whether they felt their birth experiences met their expectations.

This qualitative data will describe general themes in perception of quality of care and equitable care for various racial, socioeconomic, and insurance coverage status groups.

METHODS: A descriptive, cross-sectional study will be conducted in Georgia, statewide, to describe mothers’ perspectives of COVID-19 policies on their birth experiences, birth plans, and their perceptions of fair and equitable treatment during pregnancy, labor and delivery and post-partum. The study sample will be acquired via an adapted State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (SENDSS) case investigation form. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted.

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