Postpartum early discharge: impact on maternal fatigue and functional ability

Clin Nurs Res. 1995 Feb;4(1):50-66. doi: 10.1177/105477389500400106.


The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a postpartum early discharge program, with home follow-up by hospital nursing staff, on the maternal fatigue and functional ability of low-risk mothers with healthy neonates. A quasi-experimental design was used. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups receiving the early-discharge program (hospital stay less than 60 hours plus home follow-up by hospital-based nurses; n = 35) or traditional hospital care (hospital stay more than 60 hours and no home follow-up by hospital staff; n = 17). A third group emerged from those originally assigned to traditional care but later transferred to early discharge due to bed shortages (n = 29). The Rhoten Fatigue Scale and the Inventory of Functional Status After Childbirth were used to collect the data at discharge and 1 and 6 weeks postpartum period. No significant differences between groups were found, suggesting that early discharge with adequate home follow-up does not affect the low-risk mother's fatigue and functional ability to any significantly greater extent than traditional care. It was also noted that, regardless of type of care, the proportion of subjects reporting severe fatigue was relatively large (25%, 31%, and 19% at discharge, 1 and 6 weeks postpartum period), highlighting the need for further study of maternal fatigue in the postpartum period.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay*
  • Mothers*
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Puerperal Disorders / etiology*