Women's Health during and after Pregnancy: A Theory-Based Study of Adaptation to Change

By Lorraine Tulman; Jacqueline Fawcett | Go to book overview

5
Physical Health and Functional
Status During the Postpartum

The first few weeks and months after childbirth are a time of considerable adaptation in a woman's life. Classic studies have focused almost exclusively on the process of maternal role attainment and factors that influence transition to the maternal role (Mercer, 1986, 1995; Rubin, 1984). Our previous study extended the research to the investigation of changes in, and variables associated with, functional status during the first six months following childbirth (Tulman, Fawcett, Groblewski, & Silverman, 1990). In this chapter, we present the part of our Theory of Adaptation During Childbearing dealing with physical health and functional status during the first six months of the postpartum (Figures 5.1 and 5.2). In keeping with the Roy Adaptation Model and the available evidence from the literature, we proposed that functional status, physical energy, and physical symptoms would change throughout the first six months postpartum (Figure 5.2 [A]). We also proposed that physical energy and physical symptoms would be related to functional status at three weeks, six weeks, three months, and six months postpartum (Figure 5.2 [B]).

The research we report in this chapter represents a replication and extension of our previous study (Tulman, Fawcett, Groblewski, & Silverman, 1990). Here, we extend our conceptualization of physical health from physical energy to both physical energy and common physical symptoms. We also explored the influence of type of delivery, medical restrictions, and minor intrapartal, postpartal, and neonatal complications on functional status.


ROLE THEORY AND FUNCTIONAL STATUS

As explained in chapter 2, role theory suggests that changes may occur in the performance of various activities during the childbearing period when the maternal role is being attained or readjusted to accommodate the new infant. Accordingly, we proposed that functional status changes

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