The experience of being a mother with end stage renal disease: A qualitative study of women receiving treatment at an ambulatory dialysis unit

PLoS One. 2021 Sep 27;16(9):e0257691. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257691. eCollection 2021.


BACKGROUND: End-stage kidney disease (ESKD) has considerable effects on the quality of life, impairing daily activities and leading to lifestyle changes. The purpose of this study was therefore to explore the experience of motherhood and taking care of children in women with ESKD.

METHODS: A qualitative exploratory study was conducted based on an interpretive framework. Participants were recruited using non-probabilistic purposeful sampling. In total, 14 women with ESKD were included, who were treated at the dialysis unit of a Spanish hospital. In-depth interviews (unstructured and semi-structured interviews) and researchers’ field notes were used to collect the data. A systematic text condensation analysis was performed. The techniques performed and application procedures used to control trustworthiness were credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability.

RESULTS: Three themes emerged from the data. “Coping with being a mother” described how women are faced with the decision to become mothers and assess the risks of pregnancy. The second theme, called “Children and the experience of illness”, highlighted the women’s struggle to prevent the disease from affecting their children emotionally or disrupting their lives. The third theme, “Fear of genetic transmission”, was based on the women’s fear of passing the disease on to their children.

CONCLUSIONS: Deciding to become a mother and taking care of children represents a challenge for women with ESKD, coupled with the losses in their lives caused by the disease. These findings are only relevant to women on dialysis.

PMID:34570806 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0257691

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