A Comparison of Fatigue and Energy Levels at 6 Weeks and 14 to 19 Months Postpartum

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It has been assumed that women recover from pregnancy and childbirth within 6 weeks. Recent research shows that women's fatigue levels are the same, or higher, at 6 weeks postpartum as at the time of delivery. This study determined the differences in primiparous women's fatigue and energy levels at 6 weeks and 14 to 19 months postpartum. Determinations of how some contributing factors and outcomes of postpartum fatigue relate to each other and to fatigue and energy at 14 to 19 months postpartum were also made. Analyses revealed that women are more fatigued and less energetic at 14 to 19 months than they were at 6 weeks postpartum. Quality of sleep did not correlate with fatigue or energy. At 14 to 19 months postpartum return to full functional status is almost complete, with household and infant care responsibilities being most complete. The women were experiencing mild life crises of various sorts, were somewhat depressed, and were gratified in the mothering role.

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