Doctoral Project Defense: Carrie Snyder
Candidate: Carrie Snyder
Major: Doctor of Nursing Practice
Advisor: Pamela Biernacki, D.N.P.
Title: Effects of an Educational Health Promotion Program on Mental Health Literacy and Maternal Wellbeing in the Perinatal Period
Perinatal mental health conditions are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth in the United States and the leading cause of maternal deaths. While one in five women will experience a perinatal mental health condition, less than 25% will receive treatment. The goal of this project was to develop a sustainable perinatal mental health educational program to be integrated into routine prenatal care services at a not-for-profit community birthing hospital.
The project evaluated the effectiveness of a novel educational program focused on mental health literacy and maternal wellbeing during the perinatal period. Participants were recruited using convenience sampling and attended a two-hour group session offered both in-person and virtually. The participants (n=10) were asked to complete a pre-intervention questionnaire which included a demographic survey, knowledge pretest, and the WHO-5 Wellbeing Index. Following the session, the participants completed a post-intervention questionnaire.
The primary aim was to improve mental health literacy and self-awareness during the perinatal period with the implementation of an educational health promotion program. Analysis of pre- and post-intervention scores (n=10) were compared using the Wilcoxon signed rank test, found statistical increase in knowledge on all knowledge-based questions. One secondary aim was to improve perceived wellbeing in the postpartum period compared to pregnancy by implementing a postpartum wellness plan.
Participant’s perception of self-care and wellbeing were evaluated before the intervention. Using the Kruskal-Wallis test, participant’s WHO-5 Wellbeing scores were compared to their participation in self-care activities. No statistical significance was found (H = 2.94, p =.229). Postpartum data was not collected because none of the participants experienced childbirth during the data collection period. The final secondary aim was to reduce stigma and ensure participants were aware of resources. Due to the small sample, reducing stigma was not found statistically significant following the intervention (Wilcoxon signed ranks test Z =1.41, p = .157).
This project supports integrating mental health and wellness education into prenatal care to improve knowledge and mental health literacy in pregnant persons. The project provides a foundation for future research and development of perinatal mental health interventions.