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Health, Medicine, Nursing
Research Proposal
English (U.S.)
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The Effective Strategies That Reduce Postpartum Stress (Research Proposal Sample)


A Research Proposal to Study the effective Strategies that Reduce Postpartum Stress


A Research Proposal to Study the effective Strategies that Reduce Postpartum Stress
This study will be conducted with the aim of identifying causes of postpartum stress in mothers who have given birth recently. The study will be carried out in outpatient clinics for newborn babies and in hospitals that offer postnatal care for new mothers. A target of 200 new mothers and 20 postnatal clinic attendants will be sampled, studied and analyzed. The conclusions drawn will be from the information acquired. Data will be collected using interviews, open ended questionnaires and existing literature on the subject of causes of postpartum stress in women who have recently given birth will be thoroughly reviewed. It is expected that some of the causes of postpartum stress will include hormonal changes, the birth experience, fears and anxieties about the new born baby, worries about the post pregnancy body and sexuality, financial pressure and work related problems and disappointment about the quality of support given by ones partner. Some of the strategies that will be effective to combat this causes will include getting good social support, getting enough sleep, abandoning unrealistic expectations and seeking psychotherapy
Based on Venis and McCloskey (2013), postpartum stress is a post-traumatic stress disorder that that affects averagely 15% of all new mothers after giving birth and is also known to affect fathers but minimally. If not well dealt with, postpartum stress disrupts the young mother’s life and has significantly negative effects on the live of the baby, other children in the family, other relationships and especially that with her partner.
This type of disorder comes in two stages; an early stage called early onset and a late stage called late onset stage. According to Venis and McCloskey (2013), the early stage seems like “baby blues” and is experienced by roughly 80% of all new mothers. This stage is characterized by extra sensitivity and other symptoms that include mood changes, irritability, tearfulness and anxiety. These symptoms tend to be at peak within the first one week of birth but start disappearing within two weeks without specific medication except for support, understanding, skill and practice. Late onset appears several weeks after birth and its symptoms include chronic tiredness, depression and lack of energy, significant weight loss or gain, difficulty giving attention to the baby, noticeable change in appetite and growing a feeling of sadness.
The major aim of the research to be conducted will be to determine strategies that are most effective in reducing postpartum stress that is discussed above for mothers who have recently given birth.
Statement of the Problem
Giving birth comes with feelings that are both joyful and stressful. In the words of Klier et al. (2012), then giving birth, hormones that are associated with psychological stress, that is, cortisol and epinephrine rise by a massive 500%. After labor women start experiencing a lot of changes that are both physical and psychological. For instance physical stressors like torn tissues, backaches, perennial pain and urinary tract infections are common. Hormonal changes, the birth experience itself, the uncertainty of motherhood for new mothers, insufficient sleep, lack of enough social and spousal support and nutrition may cause psychological effects on the new mother thus leading to postpartum stress. This research aims to study and come up with answers to these problems.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to establish strategies that are most effective in reducing postpartum stress and suggest ways to test the effectiveness of these strategies for mothers who have recently given birth.
Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study will be:
To establish causes of postpartum stress.
To establish strategies of reducing postpartum stress.
To establish the effectiveness of the strategies employed to reduce postpartum stress.
Research Questions
What coping strategies are most effective in reducing postpartum stress?
Definition of terms
Baby blues: Refers to feelings of fatigue, worry and unhappiness that new mothers experience after giving birth.
Oestrogen: These are steroid hormones that aid in the growth and maintenance of the feminine features and have also been known to be synthesized in order to help in menopausal and menstrual problems.
Progesterone: This is a hormone produced in the female reproductive system and helps the uterus to prepare for pregnancy.
Literature Review
Postpartum stress is commonly referred to as a hidden disease because it is hard to detect and slowly eats away the motherhood in a woman and sometimes takes her away from the whole family. This means that the disorder is generally under detected in the whole world. According to Deniz and Iyaz (2014), it does not have a particular origin; however, it happens because of a mixture of different causes that follow child birth, changes in hormonal levels being the major cause. Estrogen and progesterone levels tend to be low thus triggering mood swings.
The most common symptoms of postpartum stress are feeling withdrawn from the rest of the world especially from family and friends, being unable to establish an emotional connection with your child, feeling overly anxious about the new baby, sleeping too much or being unable to catch some sleep when the baby has fallen asleep, feeling angry, moody, teary and irritable without any reason, loss of concern in those activities that one usually enjoys and having trouble in making decisions, concentrating and remembering details, among others.
Postpartum stress is normally confused with the baby blues. As much as the symptoms might be the same, baby blues are mild and take short period of about one or two weeks before they disappear on their own. Up to 80% of all new mothers experience baby blues and about 15% of all new mothers experience postpartum stress (Patel and Wisner, 2011). Since the symptoms associated with postpartum depression are so severe, the victim generally requires medical attention unlike in the case of baby blues.
Prevention and Treatment of Postpartum Stress
Considering the fact that postpartum stress is a common occurrence to new mothers, so little has been done in terms of its research. Antenatal psychosocial support to the new mother is one way of treating the stress. However, Midwives’ counseling, upkeep and clarifications about giving birth before labor starts have enabled to provide a better perinatal psychological well-being of the new mothers.
Resent research shows that an involvement of a one hour anticipation session between day two and day five of postpartum reduced the regularity and perseverance of the stressful symptoms at four to six weeks post-delivery, but the results were only consistent with majority of the group that was studied.
The use of hormones might be another possible way of prevention. Oestrogen hormone is known to lessen post-delivery depressive signs in deeply stressed new mothers (Venis and McCloskey, 2013). However, artificial progesterone opposes oestrogen as it enhances maternal depression at six weeks postnatal.
Research Methodology
This topic will cover the participants involved in the study, the research design, procedure, and data analysis.
The study intends to collect data from 220 participants. 200 of them are expected to be new mothers and preferably those who have given birth for the first time. The remaining 20 participants will be expected to be postnatal clinic attendants and midwives who specialize in both prenatal and postnatal counseling of new parents. All the participants will be randomly chosen form postnatal care clinics.
Research Design
The study will use a quantitative research design because the sample size to be studied is a rather large representative of the entire population. The kind of data collection methods also favors a quantitative research since we will be using questionnaires, face to face interviews and observation methods to collect data.
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