Tuesday, November 6, 2007

This presentation is part of : Strategies for Women's Health Issues
Postpartum Depression Prevention: A Cross-Cultural Comparison
Doris Ugarriza, ARNP, PhD, University of Miami School of Nursing, Coral Gables, FL, USA
Learning Objective #1: identify postpartum depression prevention factors.
Learning Objective #2: compare the postpartum depression prevention activities used by African-American, Anglo-American, and Hispanic American mothers.



Specific activities undertaken by new mothers and their support systems are highly effective in preventing postpartum depression (Stern & Kruckman, 1983). These activities are: defining a specific postpartum period; mandated rest for the mother; maternal seclusion; mothers’ receipt of help with tasks; and rites and rituals centered upon the role of the new mother. This research study was undertaken to compare and contrast the types of postpartum depression prevention activities used by three groups, African-American; Anglo-America; and Hispanic-American mothers who did not develop postpartum depression. Open-ended interviewing using semi-structured questionnaires focusing on known postpartum depression prevention activities was used to obtain qualitative data from the three groups of non-depressed postpartum mothers

The mothers defined the postpartum period chronologically, i.e. two weeks to one year; events, i.e. cessation of breastfeeding; and emotionally i.e. bonding with the baby. Mandated rest was deemed important by all three groups of mothers and who voiced concern that they  did not receive enough rest. Maternal seclusion was practiced by all three groups to a small degree with African-American mothers being the most concerned about staying home longer than the other two groups of women. Anglo-American mothers received more help with household tasks while African-American received more help with infant care. Hispanic-American mothers received help with both. The primary helpers of the African-American mothers were their sisters, of the Anglo-American mothers, their husbands, and of the Hispanic-American mothers, their own mothers.  With regard to rites and rituals for the postpartum mothers, other than receiving flowers, little was done. Mothers stated that it was the baby shower, usually held prior to the birth of the baby that was meaningful to the mothers. All mothers spoke enthusiastically about the kinds and types of social support they received attributing it to their healthy postpartum adaptation.