Exploring subjective wellbeing after birth: A qualitative deductive descriptive study
Fiona Alderdice 1  
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National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom
School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queens University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
Fiona Alderdice   

National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publish date: 2019-03-15
Submission date: 2018-11-14
Final revision date: 2019-02-11
Acceptance date: 2019-02-25
Eur J Midwifery 2019;3(March):5
Subjective wellbeing is made up of cognitive (life satisfaction and positive functioning) and emotional (positive and negative affect) components. The subjective wellbeing of women in the perinatal period is poorly understood compared to that experienced by the general population. The aim of this paper is to describe women’s experiences of subjective wellbeing postpartum using the European Social Survey Wellbeing module to facilitate discussion.

Nineteen women aged 18−40 years who had given birth within the past 6 months participated in two focus groups (n=9 and n=10). Participants in the focus groups were invited to complete the European Social Survey Wellbeing module and this was used as the basis for discussion.

Women recognized that many aspects of their wellbeing were compromised after having a baby, e.g. vitality and positive functioning. Women reported that the time after birth was often challenging in terms of feeling good about themselves. Women were often tired and did not always trust their own abilities as a parent. Woman reported feeling socially isolated after giving birth and highlighted the importance of their relationships in terms of feeling valued. Changes in relationships were a source of stress and conflict. Many women reported that they did not feel engaged with their local community.

Women perceive their subjective wellbeing to be different after birth. A better understanding of the aspects of wellbeing that may be challenged after birth could facilitate provision of tailored support for women and their family to maximize their continued good health and wellbeing.

We would like to thank all the women who took part in the focus groups and SureStart for facilitating them.
Authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
Funding was from the British Academy (Small grant: 10.13039/501100000286).
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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