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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

What are women stressed about after birth?

Ayers, Susan, Crawley, Rosalind, Webb, Rebecca, Button, Susan and Thornton, Alexandra (2019) What are women stressed about after birth? Birth. ISSN 1523-536X

Item Type: Article


Having a baby is associated with a variety of stressors, change, and adjustment. This study aimed to identify what women find stressful during the early postpartum period in contemporary Western society. Women (n = 148) 6-12 weeks postpartum wrote anonymously about a situation they found stressful as part of the Health after Birth Trial (HABiT) of expressive writing. Transcripts were analyzed for categories of stressors and cross-cutting themes. Five categories of stressors were identified. Stressors in pregnancy, labor, and the early postpartum period (49.3%) included physical and emotional difficulties, and insensitive treatment by health professionals. Stressors related to adjusting to life with a baby (35.8%) included difficulties coping with a new baby, parenting, juggling responsibilities, changes to physical health, and loneliness. Stressors related to the baby's health (32.4%) included infant digestive problems, acute health problems, long-term impact, and neonatal intensive care unit experiences. Stressors related to breastfeeding (23.7%) included pressure to breastfeed, feeling like a 'bad mum' for not breastfeeding, or wanting to breastfeed and not being able to. Other stressors related to changing relationships (18.2%): with their partner, children, and other family members. Cross-cutting themes that emerged in different stressor categories were women making negative self-appraisals (eg, a bad mum, failure), feeling guilty, and lack of support from others. Our findings emphasize the importance of exploring stressors and psychological well-being with women to provide support, help women's adjustment postpartum, and ensure interventions are offered when appropriate. [Abstract copyright: © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.]

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Additional Information: ** From PubMed via Jisc Publications Router ** History: received 21-02-2019; revised 30-08-2019; accepted 03-09-2019.
Uncontrolled Keywords: birth, postpartum, stress
SWORD Depositor: Publication Router
Depositing User: Publication Router


Item ID: 11286
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1523-536X
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Susan Ayers: ORCID iD
ORCID for Rosalind Crawley: ORCID iD
ORCID for Rebecca Webb: ORCID iD
ORCID for Susan Button: ORCID iD
ORCID for Alexandra Thornton: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2020 11:24
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2020 08:22


Author: Susan Ayers ORCID iD
Author: Rosalind Crawley ORCID iD
Author: Rebecca Webb ORCID iD
Author: Susan Button ORCID iD
Author: Alexandra Thornton ORCID iD

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