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Women's successful transition to motherhood during the early postnatal period: A qualitative systematic review of postnatal and midwifery home care literature
Objective: To undertake a systematic review of available qualitative research literature to determine what women need to successfully transition to motherhood during the early postnatal period and whether postnatal home care delivered by midwives supports this process. Design: The transition from woman to mother is a significant occurrence, one that requires adjustments on physical, psychological and social levels. A qualitative systematic review design was chosen to ensure both humanistic and interactive concepts related to what women need to successfully transition to moth- erhood during the early postnatal period were identified. The systematic and structured search uncovered 33 research articles for detailed review. Two team members, using the qualitative research checklist from the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme, appraised the quality of the research articles. A total of 19 articles met the quality criteria and were included in the data evaluation process. Setting and Participants: Research teams from Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and North America gen- erated the 19 qualitative journal articles. Measurements and Findings: Data evaluation included identification of research aim, presence of a re- search question, type of methodology, data collection processes, sample information, data analysis tech- niques and study outcomes. Data was analysed using an inductive content analysis approach. Four themes were identified from the qualitative systematic review process including: women and midwives connect- ing, identification and meeting of women’s individual needs, family and cultural influences and, education and support. Key conclusions: The ability of women to connect with midwives during the early postnatal period as- sisted them overcome barriers and to successfully transitioning to motherhood. Although all four themes were determined to be key to effective postnatal transition, overwhelmingly the findings showed post- natal midwifery home care to be important in women’s successful transition to motherhood in the early postnatal period. Implications for practice: Strategies are needed ensure women have access to midwives in the early post- natal period.