Jane M. Erwin


The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate (1) what physical care critical incidents primiparae experience while providing mother-infant care during the first postpartum month and (2) what evaluations mothers give to nursing intervention applied to such critical incidents.

Six mothers who met the criteria of selection were visited four or five times. The first visit was made in the hospital to obtain background information of the mother's preparation for maternal and infant care. The second through the fourth visits were made in the home in order to record physical care critical incidents that they ex perienced while caring for themselves and their infants, to provide nursing intervention for such incidents, and to collect the mothers' evaluations of the previous nursing intervention and visit. The fifth visit in the home was made to collect the evaluations of nursing intervention provided at the fourth visit.

All six mothers reported critical incidents. Infant care critical incidents experienced included crying, vomiting, rash, cough, cord-stump drainage, increased appetite, procedure for bathing and determination of increasing jaundice. Maternal care incidents experienced were perineal pain, sore nipples, fear of diminished milk supply, headache, and constipation.

The total of eighteen critical incidents were identified during the one month period. All but one of these occurred within the first two weeks after hospital discharge. Three mothers reported two critical incidents, while the remaining three reported four. Only the mothers identifying four critical incidents reported maternal care critical incidents.

No relationship appeared between the number of critical incidents each mother reported and her preliminary preparation for mother and infant care.

Nursing intervention was administered for all critical incidents reported. Counseling and teaching were the most frequently used methods of intervention. There was no report of reoccurrence of critical incidents.

Although two of the critical incidents were experienced by more than one mother, individual specific nursing intervention was required for each mother.

The mothers stated their evaluations of nursing intervention in a variety of ways. These were categorized as: (1) Problem alleviated (31.25%); (2) Mother gained self-confidence and was reassured (25%); (3) Mother gained information (31.25%); (4) Combination of gained re assurance and information (12.5%). The general evaluations given by the mothers for the total eleven visits were as follows: the nurse's services and advice increased the mothers' understanding of their problems; gave them a feeling of confidence in their own ability to solve their problems; and might be helpful in certain cases. Therefore, such services and advice should be made available or was definitely needed.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Betty T. Lonnstrom

Second Advisor

Marilyn J. Christian

Third Advisor

Robert F. Chinnock

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Postnatal Care



Page Count

v; 71

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

Included in

Nursing Commons