Women’s experiences of the therapeutic value of writing about pregnancy sickness Michelle Nicholson
MSW, DipCouns BACP Accredited Psychotherapist
Background: There is evidence of the beneficial effects of writing therapy in relation to a range of disorders. This is the first study to evaluate those effects in the field of pregnancy sickness. Aim: To analyse the experiences of women using writing therapy to address issues associated with pregnancy sickness. Method: Ten women with an age range of 32– 48 years participated in this research study. All had been hospitalised at least once with severe pregnancy sickness symptoms in the form of hyperemesis gravidarum. Participants were invited to write reflectively about their former pregnancy sickness, at home, and then take part in a qualitative, semi-structured telephone interview of approximately one hour to talk about how they experienced this writing process. Findings: Thematic analysis identified several themes relating to the beneficial effects and uses of writing therapy and women’s relational need to be heard and supported. Discussion: This study supports previous findings about the beneficial effects of writing therapy and contributes new knowledge to the field of pregnancy sickness vis-a-vis the importance of emotional expression, emotional care and emotional recovery. The findings have important implications for healthcare professional practice.