Friday, July 13, 2007
This presentation is part of : Women's Health Strategies
The Postpartum Period: a Concept Analysis
Doris Ugarriza, ARNP, PhD, University of Miami School of Nursing, Coral Gables, FL, USA
Learning Objective #1: The learner will be able to identify the influence of culture and social support on the postpartum adjustment of women.
Learning Objective #2: The learner will be able to discuss the multi-faceted concept of what is known as the postpartum period

The Postpartum Period


Stern and Kruckman (1983) identified several known socio-cultural factors that contribute to the prevention of postpartum depression. The first of these factors is that the people of that culture have an agreed upon description or understanding of what is meant by “the postpartum period.”  Describing the postpartum period is usually done within a chronological format. For example, the 6-week post delivery visit to the gynecologist or nurse-midwife; the two-month time allotment given for employment maternity leave; or one year’s worth of social benefits for new mothers and babies are some ways in which the postpartum period is timed.

These descriptions of the postpartum period are usually constructed by persons other than mothers, i.e., healthcare providers, employers, or government agencies. Using a uni-dimensional element such as chronological time to define a complex process has sometimes caused untoward and even unhealthy outcomes for many mothers and/or their families. For example, mothers frequently return to work before they have completed their postpartum adjustment.

This report of a concept analysis of the “postpartum period” is the result of using the hybrid model of concept analysis method that includes qualitatative interviewing of postpartum mothers. Combining a thorough review of the literature with relevant studies from disciplines where the postpartum period is a core concept with the results of open-ended interviews of new mothers, a multi-layered, multi-faceted concept was synthesized. That concept includes, chronological time and event time; physical or biological adjustment, psychological adjustment; and functional level. The postpartum period is also extended to include, not only the new mother, but also the infant and other family members.