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April 2003

Postpartum Interviews: Factors Affecting Patients' Learning and Satisfaction

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics (Drs Valdes and Kurbasic), Children and Youth Project (Ms Whitfill), and Outcomes Research Institute and Department of Anesthesiology (Dr Sessler), University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky; and Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria (Dr Sessler).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(4):327-330. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.4.327

Background  Interview setting and technique presumably alter efficacy of the postpartum interview. It is commonly believed that interviews are most effective when both parties are positioned at the same physical level.

Objective  To test the hypothesis that women's satisfaction and learning are improved when postpartum visits are conducted by pediatricians sitting in a chair rather than standing and are further improved when female pediatricians sit on the mother's bed.

Design  Randomized double-blind study.

Setting  University hospital newborn nursery.

Subjects  Seventy-five mothers on their first postpartum day. Patients' postpartum interviews were conducted by physicians assigned randomly to (1) sitting on the edge of the bed near the mother's feet, (2) sitting in a chair near the side of the bed, or (3) standing at the foot of the bed.

Main Outcome Measures  Within 60 minutes of completing the interview, an investigator (B.S.W.), blinded to physician position, asked each mother questions related to her satisfaction with the interview and the information that she was given. Differences among position groups were compared by means of 1-way analysis of variance or Kruskal-Wallis, χ2, or Fisher exact tests; P<.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results  Potential confounding factors were similar among patients assigned to each of the 3 interview positions. The estimated duration of the interviews, the degree of satisfaction, and information retention were similar in each group.

Conclusion  Physicians need not make special efforts to conduct postpartum interviews in a seated position.