Fatigue Following Childbirth: Military Family Outcomes


Name: Gertdell Phyall

Rank: LTC, USA

Organization: Henry M. Jackson Foundation

Performance Site: Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA

Year Published: 1995

Abstract Status: Final


Infant sleep patterns and temperament directly influence sleep and fatigue in parents. Disruptions in sleep can affect job satisfaction and performance, an important consideration in the military.This two-group, quasi-experimental study with repeated measures was conducted at Madigan Army Medical Center in Takoma, Washington. The study included 392 families, stratified as single active duty women; mother on active duty, spouse not; father on active duty, spouse not; both parents on active duty, and randomly assigned to an experimental or control group. An advanced practice nurse was assigned to families in the experimental groups. Data were collected at baseline, 24-48 hours after birth, 2 weeks after delivery, and 2, 4, and 6 months after delivery. The nurse educated the parent(s) about sleep and fatigue. The intervention focused on increasing the parent's total sleep time and opportunities for consolidated sleep.Women in the experimental group reported greater partner support at 2 weeks postpartum. Among infants, no significant differences between groups were seen in total sleep (at 2, 4, and 6 months postpartum). However, infants in the intervention group had more consolidated nighttime sleep at ages 2 and 4 months. In addition, mothers in the treatment group had more total sleep at 2 and 4 months postpartum than control mothers. Fatigue did not differ between experimental and control women, but men in the experimental group reported significantly less fatigue at both 2 and 4 months. No significant differences were found between groups on either job satisfaction or job interference. Fatigue was greatest among women who both breastfed and bottle-fed their infants. Support and depression were significant predictors of fatigue. This study produced some significant results in stabilizing sleep patterns in young infants and concomitantly increasing sleep for their mothers and raised many more questions that may be investigated through secondary analyses.


Final Report is available on NTRL at: https://ntrl.ntis.gov/NTRL/dashboard/searchResults/titleDetail/PB2009105...