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The concerns of postpartum women who have experienced a high-risk pregnancy Ebbehoj, Catherine Anne Johnson

Abstract

This quantitative study used an exploratory, descriptive, comparative design to examine and describe postpartum concerns during the first two weeks following delivery of women who have experienced high-risk pregnancies. The association of demographic and perinatal factors with postpartum concerns was also examined. The convenience sample of 73 women included 46 primiparas and 27 multiparas who completed and returned, via mail, the Maternal Concerns Questionnaire (MCQ) (Sheil, et al., 1995) and a participant information sheet between 10 and 14 days postpartum. The MCQ consists of 50 items grouped into five concern subscales: mother, infant, partner, family and community. Findings revealed that most women had low to moderate levels of concern. From greatest to least, the concerns related to the baby, mother, family, partner and community. The primiparas' overall concerns were of greater intensity than those of the multiparas, and the types of concern differed between the two subgroups: the primiparas focused on the infant and themselves and the multiparas centered on the family and themselves. Younger women had more partner concerns than those over 38 years of age. Women whose infants were born before 38 weeks of pregnancy had greater intensity of concerns about the infant than those whose infants were born after 38 weeks. As the infant's birth weight increased, the mother's level of concern about the infant decreased. Women who breastfed had less intensity of concerns about their infants than those who used a combination of feeding methods. These study findings will assist health care professionals in hospital and community to provide individualized postpartum care to women who have experienced a high-risk pregnancy.

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