Providing Evidence Based Social Support for Mothers in the Postpartum Period
Social support is defined as love, a feeling of belonging, respect and affection one receives from others that are supporting them. In a World where it has become all to easy to feel isolated and alone during challenging times, the support we need for mothers is often missing and can lead new Mothers becoming overwhelmed, isolated and increase the risk for postpartum mood disorders (i.e. postpartum depression and elevated stress).
For all of the wonderful individuals in your lives that want to support you or have expressed their desire to support you during your gestational and postpartum period, I would like to share the results of a succinct evidence based review covering valuable forms of support and specific interventions which have been studied to help Mothers.
Social support can be broken down in to three different categories:
Emotional support: this is the feeling of trust that the other person is there for you and available when needed. You can rely on this individual to help lift you up. Emotional support can be provided by loved ones, family and close friends.
Instrumental support: this is the real day-to-day assistance one can have to help complete errands, chores, tasks, etc. Instrumental support can be provided from family members and friends or services for hire.
Informational support: obtaining important information via social interactions with others. Informational support regarding health should be evidence based and should include supportive healthcare provider(s) to support you through the pregnancy and during your postpartum period and beyond.
Informational support regarding health should be evidence based and should include supportive healthcare provider(s) to support you through the pregnancy and during your postpartum period and beyond.
Interventions which have been shown to provide improved support for postpartum mothers include:
Counselling with Partner during the prenatal period
Interventions based on interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)
Advanced practice nurse
Home visits during the postpartum period
Social support for postpartum has numerous proven benefits, including: improved self-esteem and confidence, reduced stress, reduced risk of postpartum depression among many more benefits.
Part of your postpartum planning should include conversations with family, partner and friends to establish who would be the right fit for providing emotional, instrumental and informational support. You should also speak with your healthcare provider to know what types of supports and services are available for you in the postpartum period and to make them aware of your healthcare needs so they can help ensure everything is set for you to receive the optimal care you need and deserve.
This article is being shared as educational content and is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healthcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance and supervision.
Sharifipour, F., Javadnoori, M., Behboodi Moghadam, Z., Najafian, M., Cheraghian, B., & Abbaspoor, Z. (2022). Interventions to improve social support among postpartum mothers: A systematic review. Health Promotion Perspectives, 12(2), 141–150.