Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Jeff Nisker


Recent research has identified a group of plasticizers known as phthalates as potential anti-androgens and a risk to developing male fetuses. A constructivist grounded theory study was used to understand pregnant women and obstetrical care providers’ perceptions of phthalates. Twenty-three pregnant women and twelve obstetrical care providers (Obstetricians, Family Physicians, and Midwives) from Southwestern Ontario participated in semi-structured interviews. Pregnant women and clinicians had little knowledge regarding phthalates and the potential associated risks. Women felt that knowledge of these risks would be important to prenatal counselling while clinicians required more evidence. Two separate but related models emerged from the data depicting salient relationships in pregnancy and women’s decision making processes. Relational autonomy theory was used as a conceptual framework to better understand the models. More efforts are needed to educate pregnant women about the risk of phthalates and facilitate decision making in pregnancy.