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Advancing health for new mothers in rural communities

CKaylie Snyderreighton researchers this summer are attempting to improve the health of rural mothers navigating their physical recovery after childbirth.

Kailey Snyder, PhD, assistant professor at Creighton’s School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, is joining Kari Bargstadt-Wilson, MPT, and Julie Peterson, DPT, director of the Creighton Therapy and Wellness Clinic, to research the most effective ways of educating women on their pelvic floor health after childbirth. Given the remoteness from medical services rural populations often endure, increasing pelvic health knowledge can better equip women to self-manage their pelvic floor issues, common among which is urinary incontinence.

The pelvic floor muscles have several functions, including assisting with bladder and bowel control and pelvic organ support. It’s proper functioning is critical for women managing the demands of a newborn baby.

“Few education interventions exist to improve pelvic floor dysfunction among postpartum women despite it greatly influencing a women’s ability to be physically active as well as impacting her mental and sexual health,” Snyder says.

Snyder and Peterson are using a framework titled the Multiphase Optimization Strategy, which allows researchers to test out different components of an intervention before deploying a full-scale intervention. For this study, an educational webinar will be paired with different components such as weekly text messaging or personal consultations to better understand what is impacting maternal knowledge.

“We are motivated by the tenet that a healthier mother creates a healthier child,” Snyder says.

“Providing a woman with the knowledge and tools to self-manage her pelvic health and be able to identify when she needs to seek greater medical assistance is vital in supporting her mental and physical health after childbirth.”

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