Changes in functional status after childbirth were examined over a 6-month postdelivery period in 97 women who had delivered healthy full-term infants. Functional status was defined as the woman's readiness to assume infant care responsibilities and resume her usual activities. Functional status was found to improve steadily from 3 weeks to 3 months postpartum, but no statistically significant changes were found between 3 and 6 months. However, by 6 months postpartum 6% of the women had not yet fully assumed the desired or required level of infant care responsibilities, nearly 20% had not yet fully resumed usual levels of household activities, 30% had not fully resumed usual levels of social and community activities, and more than 80% had not yet fully resumed usual self-care activities. Of the 57 women who had returned to work or school by 6 months postpartum, over 60% had not fully resumed their usual level of occupational activities. Canonical analysis revealed that different sets of health, psychosocial, family, and demographic variables were associated with functional status at each data collection point.