Optimizing Postpartum Care in Rural Communities: Insights from Women in Arizona and Implications for Policy

Abidemi Okechukwu, Priscilla Magrath, Halimatou Alaofe, Leslie V. Farland, Ivo Abraham, David G. Marrero, Martin Celaya, John Ehiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Optimal postpartum care promotes healthcare utilization and outcomes. This qualitative study investigated the experiences and perceived needs for postpartum care among women in rural communities in Arizona, United States. Methods: We conducted in-depth interviews with thirty childbearing women and analyzed the transcripts using reflexive thematic analysis to gauge their experiences, needs, and factors affecting postpartum healthcare utilization. Results: Experiences during childbirth and multiple structural factors, including transportation, childcare services, financial constraints, and social support, played crucial roles in postpartum care utilization for childbearing people in rural communities. Access to comprehensive health information and community-level support systems were perceived as critical for optimizing postpartum care and utilization. Conclusions for Practice: This study provides valuable insights for policymakers, healthcare providers, and community stakeholders in enhancing postpartum care services for individuals in rural communities in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1148-1159
Number of pages12
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2024


  • Postpartum
  • Rural
  • Social support
  • Structural determinants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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