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This qualitative study was designed to explore the childbirth expectations of primiparas' (women pregnant for the first time) in light of current scientific understandings of consciousness. In-depth before-and-after-birth interviews were conducted. Explicit expectations were compared with implicit expectations portrayed through drawings of an ideal birth (a projective technique) rendered during the first interview. Participants experienced outcomes that differed from their conscious expectations. Indications of their unconscious expectations were evident in both their dialogues and drawings. It could be deduced that these women experienced what they unconsciously expected. Although phenomenology served as the model for data collection, feminist theory, art interpretation, prenatal and perinatal psychology, consciousness studies, and quantum physics each contributed to interpretation of the data. The implications for expanding the awareness of consciousness into the realms of pregnancy and childbirth are far-reaching, potentially enhancing the lives of mothers and babies while improving the quality of education and services designed to reach this vital and vulnerable population.


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JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.

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