Views of Women and Clinicians on Postpartum Preparation and Recovery

Abstract

To explore important domains of women’s postpartum experiences as perceived by postpartum mothers and obstetricians/midwives, and to investigate how postpartum care could enhance patient preparation for the postpartum period. Qualitative research study was conducted to explore women’s and clinicians’ perceptions of the postpartum experience. Four focus groups of postpartum women (n = 45) and two focus groups of obstetric clinicians (n = 13) were held at a large urban teaching hospital in New York City. All focus groups were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using grounded theory. Four main themes were identified: lack of women’s knowledge about postpartum health and lack of preparation for the postpartum experience, lack of continuity of care and absence of maternal care during the early postpartum period, disconnect between providers and postpartum mothers, and suggestions for improvement. Mothers did not expect many of the symptoms they experienced after childbirth and were disappointed with the lack of support by providers during this critical time in their recovery. Differences existed in the major postpartum concerns of mothers and clinicians. However, both mothers and clinicians agreed that preparation during the antepartum period could be beneficial for postpartum recovery. Results from this study indicate that many mothers do not feel prepared for the postpartum experience. Study findings raise the hypothesis that capturing patient-centered domains that define the postpartum experience and integrating these domains into patient care may enhance patient preparation for postpartum recovery and improve postpartum outcomes.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (R01 HS09698-03).

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Correspondence to Amy Balbierz.

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Martin, A., Horowitz, C., Balbierz, A. et al. Views of Women and Clinicians on Postpartum Preparation and Recovery. Matern Child Health J 18, 707–713 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-013-1297-7

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Keywords

  • Focus groups
  • Postpartum women
  • Obstetric clinicians
  • Preparation