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Postpartum Fatigue in the Active-Duty Military Woman

Authors

  • Jacqueline D Rychnovsky

    Corresponding author
    1. Jacqueline D. Rychnovsky, PhD, RN, CPNP, is a nurse researcher in the Nursing Research and Analysis Department, Naval Medical Center San Diego, CA.
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Address for Correspondence: Jacqueline D. Rychnovsky, PhD, RN, CPNP, Nursing Research and Analysis Department, Naval Medical Center San Diego, 34800 Bob Wilson Drive, San Diego, CA 92134. E-mail: jrychnovsky@cox.net.

Abstract

Objective:  (a) To describe fatigue levels in military active-duty women, (b) to describe the relationship among selected predictor variables of fatigue, and (c) to examine the relationship between predictor variables, fatigue levels, and performance (as measured by functional status) after childbirth.

Design:  Based on the Theory of Unpleasant Symptoms, a longitudinal, prospective design.

Setting:  A large military medical facility in the southwest United States.

Patients/Participants:  A convenience sample of 109 military active-duty women.

Main Outcome Measure:  Postpartum fatigue.

Results:  Women were found to be moderately fatigued across time, with no change in fatigue levels from 2 to 6 weeks after delivery. All variables correlated with fatigue during hospitalization and at 2 weeks after delivery, and depression, anxiety, maternal sleep, and functional status correlated with fatigue at 6 weeks after delivery. Regression analyses indicated that maternal anxiety predicted fatigue at 6 weeks after delivery. Over half the women had not regained full functional status when they returned to work, and 40% still displayed symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Conclusions:  Military women continue to experiencing postpartum fatigue when they return to the workplace. Future research is needed to examine issues surrounding fatigue and its associated variables during the first year after delivery. JOGNN, 36, 38-46; 2007. DOI: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2006.00112.x

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