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Keywords:

  • family health;
  • maternity care;
  • phenomenological study

This paper is concerned with the self-reported health and well-being of families discharged from maternity hospital within 24 hours of childbirth. The empirical data were collected in focused interviews with 12 families; background data were also drawn from hospital documents. Data analysis was based on the phenomenological approach developed by Colaizzi. The informants' accounts of their health and feelings of well-being revolved largely around the process of growth to the new life situation as well as the importance of a sense of feeling at home in one's everyday environment. The well-being of the newborn and other children in the family was highlighted in the parents' descriptions of the family's health. However, physical health was just one dimension in definitions of family health.