Postpartum follow-up: can psychosocial support reduce newborn readmissions?

MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. Jan-Feb 2010;35(1):33-9. doi: 10.1097/


Purpose: To determine whether there was a relationship between postpartum psychosocial support from healthcare providers and the rate of normal newborn readmissions (NNRs), and whether there was a cost benefit to justify an intervention.

Study design and methods: Data were abstracted for all normal newborn births from 1999 to 2006 (N = 14,786) at a community hospital in southern California at three different time periods: (1) at baseline prior to any intervention (1999-2000), (2) the 4 years during the comprehensive psychosocial support intervention (2001-2004), and (3) the 2 years during a limited psychosocial support intervention (2004-2006). A cost-benefit analysis was performed to analyze whether the financial benefits from the intervention matched or exceeded the costs for NNRs.

Results: There was a significantly lower readmission rate of 1.0% (p = < .001) during the comprehensive intervention time period compared to baseline (2.3%) or to the limited intervention time period (2.3%). Although there was no significant difference in the average cost per newborn readmitted across the three study time periods, during the comprehensive intervention time period the average costs of a NNR were significantly lower ($4,180, p = .041) for the intervention group compared to those who received no intervention ($5,338). There was a cost benefit of 513,540 dollars due to fewer readmissions during the comprehensive time period, but it did not exceed the cost of the intervention.

Clinical implications: Providing comprehensive follow-up for new mothers in the postpartum period can reduce NNRs, thus lowering the average newborn readmission costs for those who receive psychosocial support. Followup for new mothers should be an accepted norm rather than the exception in postpartum care, but NNRs should not be considered the sole outcome in such programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Depression, Postpartum / economics*
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology
  • Depression, Postpartum / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant Welfare / economics
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Welfare / economics
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Readmission / economics*
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Postnatal Care / economics*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Support