Existential aspects as an inevitable part of salutogenesis in maternity care – A discussion paper

  • Christina Prinds
    Corresponding author at: University College South Denmark, Degnevej 16, 6705 Esbjerg Ø/University of Southern Denmark, Department of Clinical Research, Winsløwparken 19, 5000 Odense, Denmark.
    University College South Denmark, Degnevej 16, 6705 Esbjerg Ø, Denmark

    University of Southern Denmark, Department of Clinical Research, Winsløwparken 19, 5000 Odense, Denmark
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  • Dorte Hvidtjørn
    University of Southern Denmark, Department of Clinical Research, Winsløwparken 19, 5000 Odense, Denmark

    Aarhus University Hospital, Unit for Perinatal Loss, Palle Juul-Jensens Blvd. 99, DK- 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark
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  • Katja Schrøder
    University of Southern Denmark, Department of Public Health, J.B. Winsløwsvej 9B, 5000 Odense, Denmark
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  • Dorte Toudal Viftrup
    University of Southern Denmark, Department of Public Health, J.B. Winsløwsvej 9B, 5000 Odense, Denmark
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Published:February 11, 2022DOI:



      Poor mental health is considered a major health challenge globally, not least for young people, who will form families within forthcoming years. Research related to childbirth and parenthood transition has focused on how to promote good mental health by preventing mental illness.


      We discuss how a salutogenetic approach to mental health in parenthood transition is beneficial, and specifically how the component of meaningfulness in Sense of Coherence (SoC), could be investigated to optimize good mental health during parenthood transition.


      In more recent understandings of meaningfulness, ideas from existential philosophy and psychology have been included. We discuss how, from an existential psychological perspective, open and explorative questioning of life conditions and dilemmas may help to regain one’s footing and get in touch with one’s driving force – meaningfulness. Such questioning implies that someone, a professional or a friend, actively and relationally helps explore existential aspects of life.


      We believe that investigating and asking research questions pointing at optimizing a salutogenetic perspective, specifically focusing on the component of meaningfulness and its embedded existential aspects of life, could lead to new knowledge on how to promote good mental health in maternity care.


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