First-time mothers’ confidence mood and stress in the first months postpartum: A cohort study

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Objectives: The aims were to describe first-time mothers’ confidence, mood and stress 2 and 6 months postpartum and to investigate the extent to which the tools measuring maternal confidence and maternal mood used alone or together at 2 months postpartum predict first-time maternal confidence, mood and stress 6 months postpartum. Design: A cohort including 513 first-time mothers’ self-reported questionnaires concerning three scales: The Karitane Parenting Confidence Scale (KPCS), the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), and the Parental Stress Scale (PSS) collected 2 and 6 months postpartum. Descriptive statistic, simple and multiple linear regression analysis were used. Results: First-time mothers’ with confidence scores below the clinical cut-off (KPCS <40) fell significantly from 25% to 14% (p < 0.001), symptoms of depression above the clinical cut-off (EPDS ≥ 8) fell significantly from 16% to 12% (p < 0.001), and parental stress as a mother fell significantly from a mean of 32.88 to 30.98 (p < 0.001). The KPCS assessed at 2 months postpartum was the strongest predictor for both maternal confidence (R 2 = 0.38) and parental stress (R 2 = 0.26) 6 months postpartum. Conclusion: The results support the assumption that parenthood is a complicated period for first-time mothers characterised by low confidence, symptoms of depression and high stress which improve over time for the majority of mothers. The KPCS at 2 months postpartum was the strongest predictor of the measures used. Further research is needed to identify parents who are struggling, especially for health professionals’ whose role is to support parents in their parenthood the first period after birth.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSexual & Reproductive HealthCare
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

    Research areas

  • first-time mothers, maternal confidence, maternal mood, parental stress, cohort, community setting

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