The fourth stage of labor: The health of birth mothers and adoptive mothers at six-weeks postpartum

D. K. Gjerdingen, D. G. Froberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study was conducted to determine the frequency of various health problems in new adoptive and biological mothers six weeks after they adopted or delivered their infants. Participants included 108 married first-time adoptive mothers, 72 married first-time biological mothers, and 133 controls (married women without children), each of whom completed a mailed questionnaire. Compared to controls, adoptive and biological mothers reported more fatigue, less readiness to work at a job, and less activity with household chores and recreational or social functions. In addition, biological mothers complained of more breast and genitourinary problems than did adoptive mothers or controls. Apart from their fatigue and hesitation to work at a job, adoptive mothers reported relatively good health, with the best mental health outcomes and the fewest acute physical problems of the three groups. These findings suggest that, for both adoptive and birth mothers, some aspects of postpartum recovery may continue up to and beyond the sixth postpartum week.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalFamily medicine
Volume23
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

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