January 25, 2017

Doctoral student Jen Fahey was recognized by the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health for her paper, Understanding and Meeting the Needs of Women in the Postpartum Period: The Perinatal Maternal Health Promotion Model, which was among the top 10 most downloaded manuscripts for the journal in 2015 and 2016. Ms. Fahey developed her paper with the support of her research internship supervisor, Associate Professor Edmond Shenassa. 

Ms. Fahey's proposed health promotion model addresses post-partum clinical issues from a public health perspective specifically informed by family science. Dr. Shenassa notes that the confluence of factors Ms. Fahey has identified in her research is “eye opening” and “ground breaking.” In her article, Ms. Fahey proposes a shift in thinking from disease-prevention to health-promotion that privileges the overall functional and relational well-being for mothers in their first year after childbirth. Concomitant strategies for new mothers include skills and behaviors that specify mothers' needs beyond their medical concerns and harness their families and community resources for support. Techniques that buffer stress, improve coping, and encourage self-efficacy are also presented. 

Ms. Fahey writes:

“The health of mothers outside of pregnancy has been a neglected area of research, policy and public health efforts.  The study of maternal health has long been primarily focused on promoting the health of women during pregnancy to optimize birth outcomes and infant health. Much of the attention to the health of women between pregnancies has also been with the goal of optimizing birth outcomes in subsequent pregnancies.  Less attention has been paid to the health of the woman for the woman’s sake. In the last decade postpartum depression has also received more attention–particularly following highly publicized cases in which women have harmed their children. Truly achieving maternal health, however, requires a more comprehensive approach to maternal health–one that acknowledges the importance of mothers’ health for its own sake and recognizes the particularities and multiple dimensions of maternal health.

"It is exciting to know that this manuscript is receiving attention and that in the second year since its publication seems to continue to gain momentum.  While personally it is, of course, extremely flattering to have this article receive this attention, mostly I am thrilled with the fact that this signals that others are interested in this important topic. I hope that those who are reading this manuscript are doing so with the purpose of applying the framework to help organize, propel, or support their own work on this issue. In addition to the notices regarding the download or citation of the articles, I have received messages from readers. These have been particularly meaningful. Some have been instructors in public health, nursing or midwifery courses who want to let me know that they are using the article as a reading for their course or incorporated into their lecture on postpartum health. A couple, however, have been from individuals who in addition to their professional interest in the work, are also new mothers, and have reached out to let me know how meaningful it was to them during this exciting and exhilarating yet exhausting and often stressful time period.”

For more information, see Ms. Fahey's blog post for the American College of Nurse-Midwives, in which she explains the process of writing her article.  

Related Links

Understanding and Meeting the Needs of Women in the Postpartum Period: The Perinatal Maternal Health Promotion Model (PDF)

Related People
Jenifer Fahey, Edmond Shenassa
Related Degree: 
PhD, Maternal and Child Health