A descriptive study was designed to answer the following research questions: 1) What are the postpartum health education needs perceived by first-time mothers in the hospital setting and in the primary care setting, and 2) What are the postpartum health education needs of new mothers perceived by health care providers in the hospital setting and in the primary care setting. Mercer's Theory of Maternal Role Attainment was used to guide the research. Forty-nine subjects participated in the study. The samples consisted of first-time mothers in the hospital (n=22), first-time mothers in the primary care setting (n=15), hospital health care providers (n=16) and primary care health care providers (n=ll). Data were collected using the Howard-Sater Questionnaire which addressed postpartum concerns in four categories: mother-infant psychosocial needs, mother's physical care, infant's physical care, and infant's medical care. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Additional findings using Chi-square analysis delineated 19 items for which the mothers' degree of concern had decreased between the two data collection periods. Infant medical care was the general category of highest V priority to mothers both in the hospital and in primary care. Hospital health care providers gave equally high priority to the categories of mother's physical care and infant's medical care. Health care providers in primary care placed the greatest emphasis on the category of infant's physical care. Lists were compiled to demonstrate specific priorities for postpartum health education identified by each of the research groups. These lists demonstrated certain similarities between mothers and health care providers, but differences were also noted. Conclusions drawn from this research can be used to guide nurse clinicians in the role of educator and advocate for new mothers. The most effective education programs provide information identified as significant by both the learner and the teacher. Recommendations for future research include replication of the study using larger sample sizes from more inclusive populations and settings. It is also recommended that postpartum health education needs be explored by qualitative methods to provide affirmation about priority topics for mothers and health care providers.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Linda Sullivan

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Alyce Mize

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons