Discharge Education on Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Provided by Nurses to Women in the Postpartum Period

Patricia D. Suplee, Lisa Kleppel, Debra Bingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective To explore what types of educational materials and discharge information are currently used by postpartum nurses to educate women about the warning signs of postpartum complications to determine what key messages should be presented to women after birth and before discharge. Design Exploratory qualitative. Setting Six hospitals located in New Jersey and Georgia. Participants Fifty-two nurses. Methods Six focus group discussions were conducted using a semistructured interview guide to elicit data on how and what nurses taught women about maternal post-birth warning signs. The focus group discussions were audiotaped, transcribed, coded, and clustered into categories. Results Most nurses described some of the warning signs related to maternal morbidity and mortality to the women; however, these elements were not the primary focus of the education throughout the hospital stay and were most often discussed on the day of discharge. Nurses also did not consistently describe the same signs and symptoms of the warning signs with each and every woman. The primary mechanism for education consisted of individualized instruction with booklets or folders of information. Conclusion These data indicate that improvements may be needed in how nurses educate women who just gave birth about the most common post-birth warning signs before they are discharged from the hospital. These findings also suggest that nurses need more information and guidance on how to teach all women about the post-birth warning signs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)894-904
Number of pages11
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


  • maternal morbidity
  • maternal mortality
  • postpartum discharge
  • postpartum education
  • quality improvement


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