The views of mothers and GPs about postpartum care in Australian general practice

Brodribb, Wendy, Zadoroznyj, Maria and Dane, Aimée (2013) The views of mothers and GPs about postpartum care in Australian general practice. BMC Family Practice, 14 139: 1-9. doi:10.1186/10.1186/1471-2296-14-139

Author Brodribb, Wendy
Zadoroznyj, Maria
Dane, Aimée
Title The views of mothers and GPs about postpartum care in Australian general practice
Journal name BMC Family Practice   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1471-2296
Publication date 2013-09-25
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/10.1186/1471-2296-14-139
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 14
Issue 139
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background The postpartum period is a time of increased morbidity for mothers and infants under 12 months, yet is an under-researched area of primary care. Despite a relatively clear framework for involving general practitioners (GPs) in antenatal care, the structure of maternity service provision in some Australian jurisdictions has resulted in highly variable roles of general practice in routine postpartum care. This study aimed to investigate the views and experiences of mothers and GPs about postpartum care in general practice.

Methods This was a qualitative study of mothers and GPs in rural, regional and metropolitan areas of Queensland, Australia. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 88 mothers and six general practitioners between September 2010 and February 2012. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed thematically and compared across groups.

Results Three main themes emerged: The relationship between the mother and GP; practice management; and GP visits. This paper focuses on the theme GP visits and its subthemes: recommendations for GP visits; scope of practice; and content of a routine visit. Recommendations about GP visits given to mothers varied by birthing sector, obstetric provider and model of maternity care resulting in confusion amongst mothers about the timing and role of GPs in routine postpartum care. Similarly, GPs voiced concerns about a lack of consistent guidelines for their involvement in routine postpartum care. Although ideally placed to provide primary care to mothers and their infants in the postpartum period, the lack of consistent guidelines for the role of GPs is of concern to both the GPs and early parenting women.

Conclusion General practice is an important source of postpartum care for mothers and provides a basis for ongoing support for the family. More consistent guidelines and better coordination with other care providers would benefit both mothers and GPs.
Keyword Postpartum
General practice
Primary care
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 16 Oct 2013, 11:33:36 EST by Shani Lamb on behalf of Discipline of General Practice