Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The First Months at Home: The Perceived Needs of an American Sample of Postpartum Women
by Foley, Suzanne Fitzmyer, Ph.D., Villanova University, 2011, 268; 3552397
Abstract (Summary)

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 the women. Needs of the current generation of American women becoming mothers, reflecting their context, 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 healthcare services.

A qualitative descriptive research study was conducted. Twenty-four low-risk postpartum women from 6 weeks to 13 months following their deliveries were identified from a criterion-based snowball sampling of the community, primarily from Southeastern Pennsylvania. Digitally recorded semi-structured interviews of approximately 60 minutes in length were conducted primarily at the women's homes, their place of employment, or a coffee shop, at the women's discretion. Three telephone interviews occurred with women outside of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Data were transcribed verbatim and content analyzed. Multiple strategies were used to ensure trustworthiness of the study's findings, including member checks, bracketing and an audit trail. Seven themes were identified: including, "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 and the need for support," "what to do with a baby: am I doing it right," and "postpartum services redesigned." Results were shared with participants.

The need for professional support through community-based interventions after hospital discharge was the overarching prominent 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.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hopko, Nancy Sharts, Smeltzer, Suzanne
Commitee: Arcamone, Angelina, Trout, Kimberly K.
School: Villanova University
Department: College of Nursing
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-B 74/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Medicine, Womens studies, Nursing, Public health
Keywords: Community-based postpartum care, Maternity, New mothers, Postpartum, Women
Publication Number: 3552397
ISBN: 978-1-267-90883-4
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