Mothers with hospitalized medically fragile infants are a high-risk population that may have both increased need for and barriers to accessing health care in the postpartum period. The importance of postpartum health for these mothers is amplified by increased demands of caring for a medically fragile infant and increased urgency for birth spacing and risk reduction for future pregnancies. There is limited research about the health care needs, utilization, and experience with health care services for these mothers. There is equally limited research about management of postpartum recovery in the context of mothering a fragile and/or hospitalized baby and the perspectives of OB/GYN and neonatal care providers and health system administrators as to their roles and responsibilities for the health care of these women.
Through this research project, we will identify the challenges these mothers have in accessing care as well as propose recommended modifications to the current system of care. This will result in ensuring access to quality health care for these women, resulting in the healthy development of MCH populations. Our research team, with guidance from the Neonatal Critical Care Center Family Advisory Board, will synthesize learning from multiple research approaches into a series of recommendations for health care systems. This research will enrich the field by identifying the needs of a high-risk population of mothers and proposing recommendations for change. Given the growing national interest in postpartum care, this research will support program implementation based on well- defined maternal health needs in the context of feasible system changes.
This study was supported by grant R40MC29455 Maternal and Child Health Research Program, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, (Title V, Social Security Act), Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services.