Maternal problems in the postpartum period may lead to suboptimal long-term health for women and could affect mother–child attachment. Social disadvantage is a risk factor for preterm birth, which carries its own burden of health issues and stress. The main aim of this study was to investigate the role for social factors in mothers’ physical and emotional health-related quality of life (HRQoL) at 1 year after a preterm birth.
EPIPAGE-2 is a French nationwide, prospective, population-based cohort of preterm children born before 35 weeks’ gestation (N=3614 women). At birth, detailed data on the family’s social status were collected. At 1 year after birth, mothers completed a mailed questionnaire to report information on their HRQoL, assessed by the Medical Outcomes Study 12-item Short Form. We used multivariate linear regression models to assess the association between social factors and maternal HRQoL.
At 1 year after childbirth, the emotional HRQoL of mothers of preterm children was worse than their physical HRQoL, even in women without any previous signs of psychological distress at the infant’s discharge from hospital. Baseline social characteristics were the most important factors influencing the physical component of HRQoL. None of the studied social factors had any clear association with the mental component of HRQoL.
Our study underlines the importance of social disadvantage during pregnancy as risk factors for poor physical HRQoL at 1 year after a preterm birth.