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Midwifery. 2013 Sep;29(9):1050-5. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2012.10.001. Epub 2013 Feb 15.

The role of maternal self-care in new motherhood.

Author information

1
Department of Community Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine, 1550 College Street, Macon, GA 31207, USA. barkinj@gmail.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the following: (1) women's perceptions regarding the role of maternal self-care, (2) specific applications of self-care in new motherhood and (3) barriers to practising effective self-care.

DESIGN:

three focus groups were conducted in order to study women's perspectives regarding the key components of new motherhood.

SETTING:

Recruitment took place in Allegheny County, surrounding Pittsburgh. The focus groups were held at the University of Pittsburgh's Medical School.

PARTICIPANTS:

Thirty-one adult women who had given birth in the year prior to enrollment participated in the study.

METHODS:

The focus group conversations were recorded and transcribed for purposes of qualitative analysis. Conversation related to maternal self-care, which was identified as a component of new motherhood, was grouped into one of three categories: (1) women's valuations of self-care, (2) effective applications of self-care and (3) barriers to good self-care practice.

FINDINGS:

Two ideologies regarding the role of self-care emerged. In one conception of effective mothering, self-care was of primary importance. On the contrary, some women associated a sometimes extreme form of self-sacrifice with new motherhood. Effective applications of self-care included taking time to exercise, allowing the infant's father to care for the child for a period of time and going out to restaurants. Barriers to good self-care practice were time, other limited resources such as money and social support and difficulty accepting help and setting boundaries.

KEY CONCLUSIONS:

Additional focus groups should be conducted with the purpose of studying maternal self-care exclusively. This work is an important first step in identifying ways to help new mothers better care for themselves.

KEYWORDS:

Maternal functioning; Postpartum; Self-care

PMID:
23415369
DOI:
10.1016/j.midw.2012.10.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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