New moms needed: Survey seeking P.E.I. mothers who gave birth in last 6 months

A Dalhousie researcher is looking for new moms in the Maritimes to participate in an online survey about their postpartum experience.

Brianna Richardson is from P.E.I. and is part of a team of researchers from Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

They're doing a survey to find out where and how new moms get health information or social support.

The survey will focus on how that relates to their postpartum experience with things like anxiety, depression and pain management.

"Based on how and where they do find health information or social support, how does this then influence their anxiety, confidence, depression after birth," Richardson said.

Postnatal adjustment

The survey focuses on postnatal adjustment.

Richardson said the transition to motherhood can be exciting and challenging, especially during the first six months.

Mothers can often feel under-supported leaving many mothers wanting greater information and social support. — Brianna Richardson, Dalhousie researcher

"It usually requires a lot of physical, emotional and social adjustments, of course, when there is a growing family or a new baby introduced into the family," she said. 

"So, this changes norms and expectations for mothers and for families."

The survey is for mothers in P.E.I., New Brunswick or Nova Scotia who have given birth in the last six months.

"The postnatal adjustment period, so that's six months after having a baby, isn't really well-studied in Canada and even less so in the Maritime provinces" she said.

Online information

Richardson said there was a study done in Nova Scotia recently that 239 women took part in.

"The top three sources of information were online, was the first one, and then physicians or family or friends," she said.

Richardson said because online sources are one of the top preferred places for mothers to get information, she and her co-lead researcher are creating electronic health programs.

We really wanted to create this online survey so that we can get a better sense of how exactly mothers are seeking information. — Brianna Richardson, Dalhousie researcher

"We are hoping that getting this information from mothers in the Maritimes specifically will directly help to inform and better equip our e-health program," she said.

No matter where mothers get their information, Richardson said it should be evidence-based.

"So it's based on current research and literature," she said.

Richardson said mothers receive frequent care during pregnancy, but after birth the amount of contact with health-care providers tends to go down.

"Mothers can often feel under-supported leaving many mothers wanting greater information and social support during this adjustment period," she said.

Deadline approaching

Richardson said the survey takes about 30 minutes to complete.

"We really wanted to create this online survey so that we can get a better sense of how exactly mothers are seeking information," she said.

"How they are getting that information, and where they are getting that — whether it is online sources or their health-care provider."

The survey closes on Jan. 1 and Richardson said she hopes to have the complete results available by 2021.

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