Lansinoh Moms' Club

Moms Feel Unprepared for and Unsupported During Postpartum

Image of postpartum mom with baby; Moms feel unprepared for and unsupported during postpartum

During pregnancy, OB/GYNs and other healthcare providers support and guide moms through the prenatal period. For over 30 weeks, a pregnant woman typically meets with a healthcare provider for prenatal visits where both mom and baby are evaluated. Birth plans may be discussed, and mom prepares to meet her baby.

But insights from moms indicate a glaring gap in preparing birthing people for the postpartum period and supporting them after they give birth. According to a recent survey conducted by Lansinoh*, 88% of moms said they weren’t prepared for the postpartum period, and over 95% of moms think new mothers are not sufficiently supported by our society.

Feeling Unprepared

While the majority of women felt prepared to care for their baby, 92% said there were parts of the postpartum period they were not prepared for. Nearly two-thirds or more were unprepared for breastfeeding, mental health concerns, lack of sleep, and physical recovery.
Chart of percentage of moms who felt unprepared for the postpartum period: Breastfeeding 65%; Mental Health concerns 61%; Lack of sleep 60%; Physical pain/recovery 60%; Changes to my relationship(s) 52%; Knowing how to care for my baby or babies 36%
Previous studies have identified a lack of preparation and inaccurate expectations for the postpartum period within the US health system.1,2

Our survey responses reinforced these points: nearly 70% indicated they had unrealistic recovery expectations. While more than half of new moms created a plan for giving birth, only 11% created a plan for their own recovery. 90% of moms would recommend other new moms spend more time preparing for their own recovery after giving birth.

One study has linked lack of preparation for the postpartum period to dissatisfaction with clinical providers.2 Despite this evidence, there continues to be a lack of adequate clinical support for preparation for the postpartum period. 77% of moms surveyed by Lansinoh felt their healthcare provider did not prepare them for their own recovery, and more than 40% felt they did not receive clear instructions for recovery from their healthcare provider.

 

Feeling Unsupported

42% of moms surveyed felt unsupported by their healthcare providers after giving birth.

Most medical care during the postpartum period is focused on the baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies be seen within 48 to 72 hours after discharge from the hospital and again at one and two months3, while traditionally, birthing people were seen once at six weeks postpartum.

Although recent updates have been made to improve postpartum care for mothers, they have been slow to be put into practice and are still not robust enough to provide new mothers with adequate support. In 2018, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommended that postpartum care shift to a more ongoing, individualized process, rather than a single six-week visit.4 In 2020, the American Academy of Pediatrics added a recommendation to incorporate screening for perinatal depression into pediatric practice.5 But more work needs to be done, with only 40% of moms surveyed feeling supported by the healthcare system.

Balancing work and family is a challenge for US mothers, and the percent of moms in the workforce, estimated at 72% by PEW Research6, continues to grow. The US is the only industrialized country without a federal paid maternity leave policy according to a recent analysis of family-friendly policies conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).7

According to our survey, moms feel that stronger government policies for working parents as well as stronger support from employers are the factors that would have the biggest impact on the support of mothers.

Chart of factors that would have the biggest impact on the support of mothers: #1 Stronger government policies for working parents; #2 Stronger support from employers; #3 Stronger healthcare & insurance policies for maternal health; #4 Better social support
When asked which one word best represents their postpartum experience, moms described it as “Exhausting,” “Lonely,” “Stressful,” and “Overwhelming.”
Word cloud of moms' responses to which one word best represents their postpartum experience. Responses include exhausting, lonely, stressful, overwhelming, challenging painful, hard.

*METHODOLOGY STATEMENT:
Lansinoh designed the survey which was administered by HARK Research and reached 687 mothers. Mothers were recruited through social media. This report focuses on moms ages 18-44 who gave birth in the past 5 years. HARK Research analyzed the data, providing insights to trends and key findings reported here.

 

REFERENCES

1 Martin, A., Horowitz, C., Balbierz, A. et al. Views of Women and Clinicians on Postpartum Preparation and Recovery. Matern Child Health J 18, 707–713 (2014)
2 Howell, E. (2010). Lack of Patient Preparation for the Postpartum Period and Patients’ Satisfaction With Their Obstetric Clinicians. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 115, 284-289
3 American Academy of Pediatrics 2021 Periodicity Schedule
4 ACOG Committee Opinion Number 736, Optimizing Postpartum Care, May 2018
5 American Academy of Pediatrics 2020 Periodicity Schedule
6 https://pewrsr.ch/2N9l9c8
7 OECD Family Database, oe.cd/fdb

Birth Prep & Recovery

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