The needs of postpartum women

Curationis. 1994 Feb;17(1):15-21.


The postpartum period is characterized by a revival of the pregnancy and birth experiences, as well as adjustment to new roles, and the adjustment of the family to the new family member. In the case of a first baby, it also represents a developmental milestone for the man and woman whose lives will no longer be unfettered. Adequate education in accordance with the needs of women is necessary to enable them to handle changes in the postpartum period and to meet these demands. This researcher is aware of several postpartum education programmes in operation in South Africa at present, but none have been compiled on the basis of a published investigation of the specific needs of these women. The aim of this study therefore was to determine the needs of postpartum women. An exploratory study was undertaken by means of a qualitative research design. The research was limited to women living in Bloemfontein. White married women, primiparae as well as multiparae, women who breast-fed or bottle-fed their babies and who had either vaginal delivery or a caesarean section were included in the study. Women who were discharged from hospital without their babies were excluded. The researcher concluded that women in the postpartum period experience common needs and problems regarding self-care and baby care but their priorities were needs and problems related to self-care. The reason could be that they had gained experience of baby care in hospital. Moreover, while there are many books and articles on baby care, few are available on self-care. Postpartum education is recommended for all mothers, both primiparae and multiparae.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Clinical Nursing Research
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Infant Care
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Postnatal Care*
  • Postpartum Period / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design
  • Self Care