Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Nursing

Abstract

The birth of a child is usually a happy occasion in a woman's life. It is also often a time of overwhelming anxiety, stress and hormonal changes. Postpartum depression (PPD) could occur during the first year of childbirth in approximately 10-20% of mothers (Waldrop, Ledford, Perry, & Beeber, 2017). PPD is the most common maternal health problem within the first year after childbirth (the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2018). Recognition of mothers who are at risk for PPD allows health professionals to initiate care that can prevent further problems for the mother, infant, and the rest of their family. Screening, assessing, and treating maternal mental health problems should be a main concern in pediatric care, since maternal depression has major effects on children. There is overwhelming evidence of the long-term impact maternal PPD has on infant well-being throughout various research articles. Although there is evidence of the impact PPD has on the mother-infant dyad, there continues to be a lack of implementation within the pediatric care areas, and the lack of national guidelines and policies. Pediatric providers play a significant role in the prevention of negative outcomes for the infant and the maternal-infant dyad (Kurtz, Levine, & Safyer, 2018). Pediatric providers are in a perfect position to support healthy positive outcomes for maternal/infant health. Eleven providers who see infants within their first year of life from five different organizations were interviewed. the participants were interviewed regarding their perceptions of their role in early detection of PPD. Using a descriptive, qualitative methodology, the data from the interviews were analyzed. the data from the interviews were coded into 7 codes, and consisting of thirteen sub-codes. the codes that emerged consisted of a wide range of perceptions from healthcare providers who see infants and their mothers during the first year of life. Data from the interviews demonstrated how providers perceive their role as a critical aspect of early detection. Participants unanimously stated the importance of their role in early detection. Although participants were in accordance with the importance of their role in early detection, many issues and concerns did develop from the interviews. These issues ranged from inconsistencies regarding the lack of resources available to offer mothers, lack of collaboration, lack of screening protocols, and the lack of education the providers felt they received. Findings from this study offer much insight into the perceptions providers that see infants within their first year of life have regarding their role in early detection of PPD. in conclusion, this study demonstrates the need to increase awareness, and ensure that proper national guidelines are implemented among healthcare providers, policy makers, and organizations to secure a proper and efficient protocol to ensure the practice of screening all mothers. in addition, the results from this study have major implications in public policy, nursing practice, education, and further research.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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