The Broken Thread of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for Women During the Postpartum Period

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Abstract

Postpartum maternal health affects maternal functional status, future pregnancy outcomes, maternal chronic disease development, and infant health. After pregnancy, however, many mothers may find that they face gaps in care related to their health and caregiving roles. Research shows that they were unprepared, uninformed, and unsupported during the postpartum period as they struggle with physical and emotional symptoms, infant caregiving, breastfeeding concerns, and lifestyle adjustments. Limited follow-up after a diagnosis of gestational hypertension or gestational diabetes and screening for postpartum depression are additional gaps in preventive and supportive care. Integrative reviews revealed modest efficacy and limitations of recent postpartum health promotion and disease prevention interventions. System, clinical, and community strategies are identified to address these gaps in women's postpartum health services.

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