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Papers of the Week

2022 Jun 29

Clin Obstet Gynecol

Trajectories of Postpartum Recovery: What is Known and Not Known.


Daly D, Higgins A, Hannon S, O'Malley D, Wuytack F, Moran P, Cusack C, Begley C
Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2022 Jun 29.
PMID: 35797600.


Women's postpartum health is a public health issue that has lifelong consequences. Timely recognition and treatment of physical and mental health issues can have positive health consequences while lack of access to effective treatments or health care services can lead to long-term health problems. To advance knowledge of priority health symptoms and trajectories of postpartum recovery from women's health perspectives, we share findings from the Maternal health And Maternal Morbidity in Ireland (MAMMI) study. Data from 3047 first-time mothers recruited to a longitudinal maternal health study in Ireland from 2012 to 2017 reveal the trajectories of maternal health and health problems experienced up to 12 months postpartum. Morbidities explored include urinary incontinence, pelvic girdle pain, and sexual and mental health issues. Viewed together, and over time, the scale and persistent nature of many physical and mental health problems become apparent, yet considerable proportions of women were not asked directly about health problems by health care professionals. When women do not know what is and is not normal postpartum, they may suffer in silence and the consequence is that health problems/issues that are preventable, and treatable, are likely to become chronic. To make positive contributions to women's health, maternity care systems must be truly woman-centered and structured in ways that place emphasis on women's own health needs. In systems where women's voices and concerns are acknowledged and central, women are likely to thrive and flourish in motherhood.