Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Lisa VanGetson APRN, DNP, FNP-C

Second Advisor

Susan M. Cutshall, APRN, CNS, DNP


The postpartum period is one of the most influential developmental stages of a women’s life and represents a time of heightened risk for mental health decline. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders have been implicated as a key influence of negative parenting experiences, poor newborn psychological outcomes, delayed newborn development, and inadequately adaptive family development behaviors. Integrating established resiliency components against mental illness, such as social support, into a postpartum care model can benefit postpartum women and secondarily positively impact the aforementioned outcomes. A community care model highlighting social support for postpartum mothers was integrated into a rural Minnesota region and was found to positively impact maternal experiences according to the 14 participants. Identified outcomes included improved perception of role identity, increased awareness of maternal self-care value, and enhanced peer relationships around a shared developmental experience. Future implications for nurse practitioner care include a recommendation to integrate group community care into postpartum wellness with facilitation by an experienced perinatal health provider knowledgeable in community resources. It is imperative that nurse practitioners caring for postpartum women validate dependent care agency, encourage and aid in facilitating support mobilization, and collaborate with women throughout the postpartum time.


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