Interventions to Reduce Postpartum Stress in First-time Mothers

A Randomized-controlled Trial

Hibah Osman; Matilda Saliba; Monique Chaaya; Georges Naasan


BMC Womens Health. 2014;14(125) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background The postpartum period can be a challenging time particularly for first-time mothers. This study aimed to assess two different interventions designed to reduce stress in the postpartum among first-time mothers.

Methods Healthy first-time mothers with healthy newborns were recruited from hospitals in Beirut, Lebanon after delivery. The two interventions were a 20-minute film addressing common stressors in the postpartum period and a 24-hour telephone support hotline. Participants were randomized to one of four study arms to receive either the postpartum support film, the hotline service, both interventions, or a music CD (control). Participants were interviewed at eight to twelve weeks postpartum for assessment of levels of stress as measured by the Cohen Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10).

Results Of the 632 eligible women, 552 (88%) agreed to participate in the study. Of those, 452 (82%) completed the study. Mean PSS-10 scores of mothers who received the film alone (15.76) or the film with the hotline service (15.86) were significantly lower than that of the control group (18.93) (p-value <0.01). Among mothers who received the hotline service alone mean PSS-10 score (16.98) was also significantly lower than that of the control group (p-value <0.05).

Conclusions Both our postpartum support film and the 24-hour telephone hotline service reduced stress in the postpartum period in first-time mothers. These simple interventions can be easily implemented and could have an important impact on the mental wellbeing of new mothers.