UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Postnatal experiences of North Shore women Erickson, Debra Lynn


This study explores and identifies the needs of North Shore women during their postpartum period (0-3 months). In order to compare the perspective of the service users and the professional care givers, data were collected from three groups: new mothers, community health nurses and hospital maternity nurses. Discussions resulting from eight focus group interviews were the primary source of information for this exploratory study. Six groups of mothers, one group of community health nurses and one group of hospital nurses participated in the focus group discussions. The total number of participants were thirty-three mothers, eight community health nurses and six hospital nurses. Content analysis of the qualitative data identified three themes: 1) lack of knowledge, 2) role confusion and/or role redefinition, and 3) lifestyle adjustments. Each theme was examined within the context of three developmental time periods: the first week, 1 week to 6 weeks, and 6 weeks to three months. The data indicated that women were concerned with six tasks during their postnatal period: breast-feeding, infant care, maternal care, maintaining their spousal relationship, sibling care and household care. The relationship of each task to each theme was considered in each time period. In addition to the themes and tasks identified, the focus groups revealed that assistance and emotional support from spouses, other family members and friends is one of the most important components in the maternal recovery and adjustment process. The overall findings of the study indicate that during their postnatal period the mothers needed information, support and validation to assist them in adapting to their role as parents. The results of this study have implications for health care service providers, agencies and organizations providing services and resources to women and their families, and for the family and friends of new mothers.

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