Background and activities

Educational record

2019  PhD, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bergen.

2009  Master’s degree (MSc), Health Sciences - Nursing, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bergen.

2004  Counseling pedagogy,  Aalesund University College.

1986  School of Nursing, Bachelor’s degree, (RN), Aalesund University College.


Ph.d (2019):

Pregnant and ambivalent - Experiences of women and health personnel in the decision-making process


Background: Considering whether to terminate or go ahead with a pregnancy might be a challenging experience for a woman and for health personnel at gynaecological outpatient clinics preparing women for abortion. However, few studies have focused on the perspectives of women who are pregnant and ambivalent. There is also limited research exploring the experiences of health personnel when encountering women who are ambivalent regarding terminating a pregnancy in the first trimester.

Aims: The aim of this study was to explore how women who are ambivalent when pregnant and considering abortion experienced their situation and how health personnel experienced encountering these women. The specific aims were as follows:

Study 1: To explore the experiences of a subset of Norwegian pregnant women who were unsure about whether to complete or terminate their pregnancies during the decision-making process.

Study 2: To explore the experiences of health personnel who met women who were unsure whether to complete or terminate their pregnancies.

Study 3: To explore the experiences of ambivalent abortion-seeking women regarding their encounters with health personnel.

Methods: During 2015, 23 individual interviews with 13 women considering whether to terminate a pregnancy in the first trimester were conducted. The participants were recruited from six hospitals in Southern Norway. Three focus group interviews with a total of 20 health personnel from four gynaecological outpatient clinics were conducted in 2016. To gain knowledge of human experiences regarding the lifeworlds of women and the health personnel, hermeneutical phenomenological methods were chosen.

Results: The results are presented in three separate papers. In Paper 1, the ambivalent pregnant women described that verification of their pregnancy meant a new reality. They started to consider their readiness, describing the experience as a lonely journey during which their values were challenged. A feeling of existential loneliness dominated their decision-making process and the implementation. In Paper 2, the findings show that health personnel focus their attention on all women who are prepared for abortions by revealing, handling and being involved in each woman's potential uncertainty without influencing her decision. The health personnel found the encounters with the unsure women and their often unsolvable dilemmas to be challenging, and their involvement meant a risk of being confronted with their own vulnerabilities and values. In Paper 3, the findings show that the ambivalent pregnant women sought to make autonomous decisions while simultaneously involving their closest confidants and health personnel in the process. Three types of narratives of women’s experiences with encounters with health personnel were identified: respected women, identified women and abandoned women.

Conclusions and implications: Both the women considering abortion and the health personnel who encounter them at the gynaecological outpatient clinic feel pressure in several contextual circumstances and need support and guidance. The support given to women who are pregnant and ambivalent seems to mostly be dependent on the individual woman herself and the individual health personnel caring for her at the gynaecological units. This indicates a need for awareness of both health personnel and society related to the emotional and existential challenges women experience when they are ambivalent. In addition, the time schedule in outpatient clinics should allow for the fact that a subset of women is still ambivalent. Increased emphases on education and counselling for health professionals are needed to strengthen the quality of care.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications