A Fresh Look at the Postpartum Period: New Mother's Needs During the First Months at Home
Article first published online: 14 JUN 2012
© 2012 AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing
Special Issue: 2012 Convention Proceedings
Volume 41, Issue s1, pages S130–S131, June 2012
How to Cite
Foley, S. F. (2012), A Fresh Look at the Postpartum Period: New Mother's Needs During the First Months at Home. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 41: S130–S131. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01362_17.x
- Issue published online: 14 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 14 JUN 2012
- postpartum follow-up;
- community-based postpartum care;
- postpartum needs;
- post–hospital discharge;
- postnatal care;
- becoming a mother
In an effort to provide new mothers with appropriate interventions and services during the transitional time frame of the postpartum period, every effort must be made to ensure that services provided are tailored to the needs of these women. Needs of the current generation of American women becoming mothers were unexplored. The purpose of this study was to discern the perceived needs of a sample of American women during the postpartum period following hospital discharge and to relate their needs to postpartum health care.
A qualitative descriptive research study was conducted.
Twenty-one face-to-face interviews were conducted primarily at the women's homes, their places of employment, or a coffee shop at the women's discretion. Three telephone interviews occurred with women outside of southeastern Pennsylvania.
Twenty-four low-risk postpartum women from 6 weeks to 13 months postpartum were identified from a criterion-based snowball sampling of the community, primarily from Southeastern Pennsylvania
Digitally recorded semistructured interviews of approximately 60 minutes in length were conducted. Data were transcribed verbatim and content analyzed. Multiple strategies were used to ensure trustworthiness of the findings, including member checks, bracketing, and an audit trail.
Seven themes were identified: upheaval, seeking a new social network, expanding the new mother's definition of self, is it possible to prepare someone to become a mother, breastfeeding—the need for support, what to do with a baby—am I doing it right, and postpartum services redesigned. Results were shared with participants.
Conclusion/Implications for Nursing Practice
The need for professional support through community-based interventions after hospital discharge was the overarching need identified. Professional postpartum follow-up was found lacking, primarily related to women's postpartum mental health and breastfeeding support needs. Multiple implications for nursing practice, education, and research are discussed.