A causal model describing the relationship of women’s postpartum health to social support, length of leave, and complications of childbirth

Dwenda K Gjerdingen, Debra K. Froberg, Patricia Fontaine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recovery from childbirth is a complex process that may involve not only the gynecological organs, but also the cardiovascular, respiratory, musculo-skeletal, urologic, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and nervous systems. The process of postpartum recovery may span several months and is related to a variety of personal, family, and social variables. This paper presents a model that describes changes in women’s health over the first postpartum year and the relationship between health changes and other variables. The model’s dependent variables-mothers’ mental and physical health-have a reciprocal effect on one another. The independent variables within the model include length of maternity leave, social support. complications of childbirth, baby’s health, mother’s use of cigarettes and alcohol, and demographic characteristics. This model is proposed as a research tool for future investigations in postpartum health, and as a conceptual framework to enhance our understanding of the relationship between postpartum health and other important variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-87
Number of pages17
JournalWomen and Health
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 7 1990

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