Differences in the evaluation of postnatal midwifery support by multiparous and primiparous women in the first two weeks after birth

Margaret Cooke, Tomasina Stacey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of this study was to describe the differences in midwifery support required by women having their first and subsequent babies in the first week after birth. The sample group was all women in a one-month period who gave birth in three urban hospitals in Sydney. The sample size was 365 with a 78% response rate at the two-week follow up. Self-report questionnaires were used to collect the data antenatally (28–36 weeks) and two weeks after birth. Analysis was simple descriptive statistics, t-tests and chi-square analyses were used where appropriate. The results show a high proportion of primiparous women (85–100%) required the 17 items of postnatal support examined. Although experienced mothers required less baby care support and less health support than first time mothers, between 57–72% of experienced mothers reported that they required midwifery support when caring for their infants. At least one-fifth of women (regardless of parity) did not have their needs met for 13/17 of the items of postnatal support examined. A large proportion of all women (>40%) did not have their health needs met. The only significant difference in the post-natal support provided to women was that first time mothers were less likely, than multiparous women, to have their emotional needs met. The study demonstrated that midwifery support during the postnatal period needs to be improved for both primiparous and multiparous and multiparous women. The majority of multiparous women would like to have support from midwives related to baby care, physical and emotional health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Midwifery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes


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