Surveillance of Parenting Outcomes, Mental Health and Social Support for Primiparous Women among the Rural-to-Urban Floating Population

Healthcare (Basel). 2021 Nov 6;9(11):1516. doi: 10.3390/healthcare9111516.


China has the largest population of floating rural-to-urban women worldwide, most of whom are of childbearing age. However, few studies have been conducted to monitor the changing trends in parenting outcomes, mental health and social support for these women in the early postpartum period. In this quantitative longitudinal study, 680 primiparous women among the floating population were recruited in Shenzhen, China. Face-to-face collection of socio-demographic questionnaires was completed by researchers in maternity wards on the third postnatal day. Follow-up electronic questionnaires were dispatched to women via email or WeChat at 6 weeks and 12 weeks following childbirth, including the Self-efficacy in Infant Care Scale (SICS), Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and Postnatal Social Support Scale (PSSS), to measure maternal self-efficacy (MSE), postpartum depression (PPD) and social support, respectively. The mean scores of MSE for these floating women were 67.16 (14.35) at 6 weeks postpartum and slightly increased to 68.71 (15.00) at 12 weeks postpartum. The mean scores of EPDS remained almost stable, from 11.19 (4.89) to 11.18 (5.34) at the two time points. The prevalence of mild and severe PPD among floating women at 6 and 12 weeks after childbirth decreased from 54.4% to 40.1% and from 50.6% to 35.4%, respectively. The mean score of social support was 37.04 (10.15) at 6 weeks postpartum and slightly improved to 38.68 (10.46) at 12 weeks postpartum. Primiparous women among the rural-to-urban migrant population had an obviously negative status of parenting outcomes and mental health; and there was a lack of social support after childbirth. In future, tailored evidence-based interventions are highly needed to promote floating women's parenting outcomes, mental wellbeing and social support in the early stages of motherhood. As a higher-risk group of PPD, primiparous women among the floating population require effective and accessible mental health care after childbirth, such as early PPD screening and timely therapeutic methods.

Keywords: floating women; mainland China; parenting; postpartum depression; postpartum women; self-efficacy; social support.