Common Physical Health Conditions of Chinese Postpartum Mothers in the United States and Taiwan

Thursday, 10 July 2008: 10:50 AM
Ching-Yu Cheng, PhD, RN , Family and Community Health Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Nursing, Richmond, VA
Tsui-Ping Chu, MS, RN , Nursing Department, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify at least three postpartum physical health conditions that have high occurrence rates in both Taiwan and U.S.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand the environmental influences on maternal health.

Postpartum mothers experience certain physical health conditions that may affect their quality of lives, future health, and health of their children. However, those conditions are under studied. The research question of this study is “What are the differences in the occurrence rates of common physical health conditions of Chinese postpartum mothers in the U.S. and Taiwan?” The study was a cross-sectional design with snowball sampling. A total of 153 U.S. and 246 Taiwan mothers within 1 year postpartum participated. The 22-item Physical Health Condition Checklist was used. Descriptive statistics and Fisher's Exact test were used to analyze data. Of Taiwan and U.S. sample, mothers' mean ages were 30.85 and 33.33, 50.8% and 60.1% were primiparas, 67.9% and 70.8% delivered vaginally, 5.3% and 5.7% had postpartum complications, 48.8% and 46.4% of their children were females, mean child age was 6.48 and 5.86 months, respectively. Results showed that over one-third of Taiwan and U.S. mothers experienced backache, fatigue, interrupt sleep, retained body weight, and decreased in memory at all time periods during 1 year postpartum. Significantly more U.S. than Taiwan mothers experienced perineal pain within 3 months, painful intercourse in 3-6 months, and lack of sexual desire in 3-6 months, 6-9 months, and after 9 months. Significantly more Taiwan mothers experienced frequent headache within 3 months and interrupt sleep after 9 months. Some conditions such as decrease in memory and eating disorder showed similar patterns in overtime occurrence rate in Taiwan and U.S. Others such as hemorrhoid and interrupt sleep showed different patterns. Overall, U.S. and Taiwan mothers experienced 4.01 and 3.41 conditions, respectively. Healthcare professionals may focus more on conditions that have high occurrence rates. Care may be individualized with considerations of cultural and societal influences. More longitudinal and national studies are needed to understand morbidity of common physical conditions.