“We don’t really address the trauma”: Patients’ Perspectives on Postpartum Care Needs after Severe Maternal Morbidities

P. Mimi Niles, Adina Nack, Folake Eniola, Hannah Searing, Christine Morton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This qualitative study explored experiences of 15 women in New York City who suffered physical, emotional, and socioeconomic consequences of severe maternal morbidity (SMM). This study aimed to increase our understanding of additional burdens these mothers faced during the postpartum period. Methods: Qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews (n = 15) with women who had given birth in NYC hospitals and experienced SMM. We focused on how experiences of SMM impacted postpartum recoveries. Grounded theory methodology informed analysis of participants’ one-on-one interviews. To understand the comprehensive experience of postpartum recovery after SMM, we drew on theories about social stigma, reproductive equity, and quality of care to shape constant-comparative analysis and data interpretation. Findings: Three themes were generated from data analysis: ‘Caring for my body’ defined by challenges during physical recuperation, ‘caring for my emotions’ which highlighted navigation of mental health recovery, and ‘caring for others’ defined by care work of infants and other children. Most participants identified as Black, Latinx and/or people of color, and reported the immense impacts of SMM across aspects of their lives while receiving limited access to resources and insufficient support from family and/or healthcare providers in addressing postpartum challenges. Conclusions for Practice: Findings confirm the importance of developing a comprehensive trauma-informed approaches to postpartum care as a means of addressing SMM consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Perinatal mental health
  • Postpartum recovery
  • Qualitative research
  • Severe maternal morbidity
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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