Fatigue Following Childbirth: Military Family Outcomes


Name: Michelle Renaud

Rank: LTC(P)(ret), USA

Organization: Henry M. Jackson Foundation

Performance Site: Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA

Year Published: 1994

Abstract Status: Initial


Military readiness and productivity are closely related to home and family life. The birth of an infant is one of the major transition points for any family. During this transition, fatigue following childbirth is constantly reported by mothers and fathers. Research demonstrates that there are three central groups of factors contributing to this fatigue: parent factors (marital satisfaction, stress, depression, physical fitness, anger, sleep, and resources), infant factors (infant characteristics, temperament, neurobehavior and sleep pattern), and environmental factors (child care resources challenges and support). In the childbearing family, fatigue produces effects in three areas: job well-being (job satisfaction, absences, retention in the military, return to duty), parenting ability and infant health/development. The purpose of this study is to determine if an advanced practice nursing intervention to reduce fatigue after birth of an infant will promote job well-being, parenting ability and infant outcomes among military personnel and their spouses. A two group quasi-experimental design with repeated measures will be used. A total of 400 subjects will be entered; 200 during the first year and an additional 200 during the second proposed year. Subjects will be randomly assigned to experimental and control groups and stratified according to the active duty status of their parents into four subgroups: (1) mother active duty, spouse not; (2) father active duty, spouse not; (3) both parents active duty; and (4) single mother who is active duty. Subjects in the control group will receive routine care. The experimental group will be cared for by an advanced practice nurse who will prescribe interventions related to sleep hygiene, sleep environment regulation and sleep consolidation for both the parent(s) and the infant. Outcome measures include marital satisfaction, parenting ability, physical fitness, return to duty, infant temperament, infant development, and life circumstances. The analysis includes cross-sectional and repeated measures to evaluate differences in the dependent variables. The research has benefits for the entire military community. Reduction of fatigue in the military family should improve the function of the active duty soldier and improve infant outcomes.