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

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Abstract

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.]

Item Type: Article
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
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2020 11:24
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2020 08:22
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/11286
ORCID for Susan Ayers: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6153-2460
ORCID for Rosalind Crawley: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2321-463X
ORCID for Rebecca Webb: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8862-6491
ORCID for Susan Button: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1467-7517
ORCID for Alexandra Thornton: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5144-773X

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