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Birth. 2013 Mar;40(1):1-9. doi: 10.1111/birt.12022.

Who is well after childbirth? Factors related to positive outcome.

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Policy Research Unit in Maternal Health and Care, National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.



Poor outcomes after childbirth are associated with physical ill health and with an absence of a positive sense of well-being. Postnatally poor physical health is thought to be influenced by the care received, the nature of the birth, and associated complications. The aim of this study was to estimate the effects of a range of clinical and other factors on positive outcome and well-being 3 months after childbirth.


This study used data on more than 5,000 women from a 2010 National Maternity Survey about their experiences of maternity care, and health and well-being 3 months after childbirth. Positive outcome was defined as women reporting no problems and feeling "very well" at the time of the survey.


In the univariate analysis, several variables were significantly associated with positive outcome, including sociodemographic, antenatal, intrapartum, and postnatal factors. In the final logistic regression model, young mothers, those without physical disability and those with no or few antenatal or early postnatal problems, were most likely to have positive outcomes. Other significant factors included a positive initial reaction to the pregnancy, not reporting antenatal depression, fewer worries about the labor and birth, and access to information about choices for care.


This study shows how positive outcomes for women after childbirth may be influenced by health, social, and care factors. It is important for caregivers to bear these factors in mind so that extra support may be made available to those women who are likely to be susceptible to poor outcome.


maternal well-being; maternity survey; positive outcome; postnatal health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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