CMNRP Postnatal Plan Pilot Study

In our work examining postpartum hospital discharge experiences we frequently heard from new moms about the dream of parenting while they were pregnant versus the reality of it once they brought their baby home Many pregnant first time moms felt that having a baby was going to be an easy task, that once they got home with their new babies they would be able to do their normal activities and just integrate their new baby into their lives

The moms on our workgroup kept coming back to the idea that they planned extensively for their labour and birth but not for the immediate time after going home with their new baby We wanted to find a way to help pregnant moms think about the early days after birth, the supports they might need, and the follow-up care needed for both mom and baby The workgroup created a checklist which we named the GPS the "Good Parenting Start: A Roadmap to Getting Ready to Go Home with Baby" This tool was designed by new parents and health care providers Topic areas within the GPS included physical, social, emotional, and mental wellness as well as caring for the baby's needs

We wanted to determine if the GPS would help pregnant moms prepare themselves for the postpartum period We developed a pre and post intervention, multi-site pilot study We had 134 expectant moms sign up to participate in the study 96 mothers completed the study and 38 of them used the booklet Almost 80% of the moms indicated that the tool made them think about topics or situations they may not have thought about on their own 95% of participants indicated that the tool touched on most topics that were of concern to them

55% of moms felt that they were more prepared because they used the tool 66% of the moms who used the tool were happy with it and would use it again for a future pregnancy The use of the tool resulted in more first-time parents being aware of follow-up requirements for their baby Through this work we've identified an innovative, highly satisfactory strategy that on its own doesn't appear to be sufficient to change behaviour Given the positive results of this pilot we suggest wide dissemination of the checklist

Our workgroup feels that they checklist could be handed out during prenatal appointments, ultrasounds and prenatal classes The checklist needs to be part of an integrated strategy which allows multiple opportunities for expectant parents to identify the need to prepare and plan for the time after birth Next steps include revision of the checklist with wide stakeholder engagement We will also consider other media to share this information such as apps Smooth transition is possible, but only if well-planned

We need to raise parental awareness about the importance of building knowledge in the PRENATAL period and engage perinatal healthcare providers in prompting women to seek out this information during pregnancy

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