Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What New Moms Really Want to Know about the Postpartum Experience

There are a lot of new things to consider when preparing for pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.  Today, we will present an article that describes a review of 18 scientific papers and a list of the most important things that mothers want to learn after giving birth.  We have also done a little research of our own to find the answers to these common questions, just in case you were wondering about some of the same things! However, you’ll have to stay tuned for the answers in the next few posts!

Common Questions about the First 3 Days Postpartum
For mothers who have had c-sections, the first 3 days are generally spent in the hospital with access to nurses, lactation consultants (in some cases) and doctors to answer their most pressing questions.  Mothers delivering vaginally, however, may be discharged from the hospital 24 to 48 hours after an uncomplicated birth; it’s not surprising that mothers’ primary concerns centered around their babies’ feeding and care during their first 3 days of life. Mothers asked questions most often about learning how to recognize and treat infant illnesses and how often and how much to feed their infants.

Interestingly, there were only minor differences between questions asked by first-time mothers and mothers who had had children before.

For first-time moms, the most universal question on the 1st day postpartum was how to care for surgical wounds like c-section incisions and episiotomies.  Other common postpartum care questions included combatting postpartum complications, illness, fatigue, and the purpose of uterine massage in the hospital. 

The concerns of mothers who have had a child before were only slightly different.  The most common questions these moms had were the same as the first time mothers’ questions with the additional concern of appropriate maternal physical activity and how to return to their ‘normal’ figures (or weight).

Common Questions beyond the First Days and Weeks Postpartum
By this time, most mothers are back at their own homes, and after having tackled the art of diaper changing and feeding, have a new slew of questions about caring for their baby, themselves, and their new family as a whole. 

In this review, the most important issues to address during the transition from hospital to bringing baby home for both first-time and veteran moms were returning to their prenatal figure, postpartum exercise, “mothering” in general, and meeting the demands of everyone at home.

Understanding Baby Behavior is a universal concern of parents all over the world.  This study found that during their babies’ first few weeks, mothers were concerned about their babies’ behavior, fussiness, need for stimulation, growth and development, and feeding – all things we hope you have learned from our previous posts!  (for a quick refresher on the basics of Baby Behavior, you can review the crying , sleep, states, and cues posts.)  Other, less frequent questions were about support bras, perineal care, and how to deal with older siblings and sibling reactions when the new baby came home.

We know from experience that being aware of common questions can be a relief, helping new parents know that they are not alone in their concerns!  If you haven’t ever stopped to consider any of these questions, don’t worry!  We will be providing the answers to these questions in the next couple of posts!

Reference: Bowman KG. Postpartum Learning Needs. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2005 Jul-Aug;34(4):438-43..

1 comment:

  1. I was taken aback that the first thing MOST women want to know is how to care for stitches from surgeries that most women likely should not have happened. Appalling!