Culturally Competent Postpartum Care for Puerto Rican Women: Results of a Qualitative Study


Poster Presentation


To examine infant care and self-care knowledge acquisition needs and issues among primiparous Puerto Rican women in the postpartum period.


A descriptive qualitative study.


A northeastern U.S. community.


A purposive sample was selected via the social network sampling method. Twenty-two primiparous Puerto Rican women were included who had no severe intrapartum or postpartum complications and were discharged home with their full-term, medically uncomplicated infant within the previous 2-year period.


Participants completed a demographic information form with established face and content validity, and 30- to 60-minute semistructured individual interviews were conducted at community sites and continued until saturation of data was achieved. Participants verified transcribed interviews. Data were analyzed using content analysis. Demographic data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Methods to enhance rigor and trustworthiness of the analysis were employed.


Results supported findings from the literature regarding self-care and infant care information needs and concerns of new mothers. However, low literacy, language barriers, low socioeconomic status, and access issues were significant for this cultural group. Themes emerged such as transition to motherhood, which included physical recovery from childbirth and mental adjustment to life-change. A theme entitled influence of culture contained subthemes related to family influence, dilemmas of cultural practices, and cultural conflict. Often research-based information from health professionals contrasted with culturally influenced advice of trusted friends and family, forcing new mothers to decide which advice to follow and dividing their loyalties.

Conclusion/Implications for Nursing Practice

Hispanics have been identified as a population at risk for health disparities, and Hispanic women receive fewer preventive services, experience a higher incidence of postpartum complications, and report less satisfaction with the quality of care than non-Hispanic women. Puerto Ricans are in greater jeopardy of poor health outcomes than any other Hispanic subgroup, yet there have been few studies on this topic. With population growth and increased utilization of services, funding will be increasingly challenging but nurses are well positioned to create innovative programing and to advocate for legislation to support this vulnerable population. Encouraging self-efficacy in decision making empowers Puerto Rican new mothers to care for themselves and their infants. Increasing cultural competence may be invaluable in improving health outcomes and client satisfaction measures for Puerto Rican clients.