Persevering Through Postpartum Fatigue

OBJECTIVE: To construct a substantive theory of postpartum fatigue. DESIGN: Grounded theory. SETTING: Participants were recruited in the hospital after delivery and interviewed in their homes. PARTICIPANTS: Thirteen primiparae (n=5) and multiparae (n=8) women between 2 and 5 weeks postpartum from diverse ethnic, age, obstetric, and financial contexts were theoretically sampled. RESULTS: Persevering was the central human process around which the grounded theory emerged. The process of persevering was explained through the relationships of influencing factors, postpartum fatigue, coping techniques, self-transcendence, and caregiving. Participants persevered in caregiving of infants and older children in spite of an overwhelming desire to rest and sleep using self-identified coping techniques in combination with the belief that their children brought purpose and meaning to their lives. CONCLUSIONS: The theory "Persevering Through Postpartum Fatigue" contributes a more complete understanding of the complex phenomenon of postpartum fatigue as it is expressed in the everyday lives of women during the postpartum period. The results may be used to develop and implement health-promoting nursing interventions to reduce postpartum fatigue and its health-related consequences.