Health status and quality of life in postpartum women: A systematic review of associated factors

D.A.A. Van der Woude, Johanna M. A. Pijnenborg, J. de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Since health care is becoming more and more patient centered, patient-reported outcomes such as quality of life (QOL) and health status (HS) are becoming increasingly important.

The aim of this systematic review was to provide an overview of physical, psychological, and social domains of QOL and HS in postpartum women, and to assess which factors are associated with QOL and HS domains postpartum.

A computerized literature search was performed using the PubMed, PsycINFO, and Cochrane databases. Studies were selected if the three domains of QOL or HS were measured in a (sub)group of postpartum women, by using validated standardized questionnaires.

The methodological quality of the 66 included studies was examined by two independent reviewers.

All three domains of QOL were impaired in postpartum women with urinary incontinence, with even worse QOL in women with mixed urinary incontinence. Mental QOL was impaired in women with urge urinary incontinence after cesarean section. Social QOL was decreased in HIV-positive women. HS was impaired in all three domains in postpartum depressed women. Physical HS was impaired after cesarean section for at least two months postpartum. Additional supportive interventions from health care social support were not associated with improved HS.

Urinary incontinence and being HIV-positive seemed to be associated with impaired QOL. Postpartum depression and a cesarean section seemed to be associated with impaired HS. Prospective longitudinal research is needed in order to draw valid conclusions regarding postpartum HS and QOL, and the predictive value of the associated factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Postpartum
  • Health status
  • Quality of life


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