[Perinatal vulnerability and social-support during the postnatal period: a review of the literature].

Sante publique (Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France)

PubMedID: 26164953

Hamelin-Brabant L, De Montigny F, Roch G, Deshaies MH, Mbourou-Azizah G, Da Silva RB, Comeau Y, Fournier C. [Perinatal vulnerability and social-support during the postnatal period: a review of the literature]. Sante Publique. 2015;27(1):27-37.
OBJECTIVE
To present the results of an integrative review of the literature that summarized empirical knowledge on dimensions of vulnerability during the perinatal period leading to informal and semi-formal postnatal support needs.

METHOD
The literature search was performed in ten databases, covering the period from 1990 to March 2013. Relevant information was extracted and analysed in an integrative mode according to four main vulnerability dimensions: biological, psychological, social, cognitive.

RESULTS
Thirty studies were included. Biological vulnerabilities mainly concern tiredness and breastfeeding difficulties; psychological vulnerabilities consist of stress, feelings of parental incompetence and need for reassurance; social vulnerabilities comprise performance pressure concerning new responsibilities and entertainment needs, instrumental assistance and peer social support; and cognitive vulnerabilities correspond to a need for participatory information on the prenatal period from peers.

CONCLUSION
The transition to parenthood is an important step during which individuals may experience a state of vulnerability with numerous and interconnected dimensions. The variousforms of postnatal support therefore need to be harmonised in order to support parents. Research is needed on the harmonisation of the various support networks, which raises significant challenges, especially in terms of resources, funding, and information exchange, that must be documented.