Changes in women's mental and physical health from pregnancy through six months postpartum

D. K. Gjerdingen, D. G. Froberg, L. Kochevar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

A longitudinal study was conducted to investigate changes in women's mental and physical health around the time of childbirth, and to determine whether health was related to length of maternity leave. Thirty-seven married, employed first-time mothers completed questionnaires during pregnancy, and again at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months postpartum. Results showed that, from pregnancy to the 6th postpartum month, the number of days that mothers were ill because of infections steadily increased. In addition, depressive symptoms for new mothers rose from pregnancy to the 6th week postpartum, and declined thereafter. For women who did not return to work during the period of the study, a significant decline in depressive symptoms was observed from the prenatal period through the 6th postpartum month. These findings demonstrate significant changes in mental and physical health for this group of first-time mothers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Family Practice
Volume32
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

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