Mothers’ accounts of the impact of being in nature on postnatal wellbeing: a focus group study

Journal article


Hall, K., Evans, J., Roberts, R., Barnes, C. and Turner, K. 2023. Mothers’ accounts of the impact of being in nature on postnatal wellbeing: a focus group study. BMC Women's Health. 23 (32), pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-023-02165-x
AuthorsHall, K., Evans, J., Roberts, R., Barnes, C. and Turner, K.
Abstract

Background
The postnatal period is a vulnerable time for mothers to experience stress and mental health difficulties. There is increasing evidence that spending time in nature is beneficial for wellbeing. Nature-based interventions have been developed to support mental health, but not specifically tailored for mothers during the postnatal period. Understanding mothers’ views and experiences of nature would help determine the suitability for and potential impact of such interventions on postnatal wellbeing.

Aims
To explore mothers’ views on the impact of spending time in nature on their postnatal mental wellbeing.

Methods
Focus groups were held with mothers of young children (under five), including mothers from migrant and refugee communities, mothers living with mental health difficulties, and disabled mothers. Data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis.

Results
Four focus groups were held, with a total of 30 participants. Six themes were developed: (1) mothers’ experiences of what constitutes ‘nature’; (2) sensing nature improves wellbeing; (3) natural spaces facilitate human connection; (4) nature provides escape and relief from daily indoor stressors; (5) nature allows new perspectives; and (6) mothers face a variety of environmental, practical, psychological, physical, socioeconomic, and cultural barriers to spending time in nature during the postnatal period.

Conclusions
Mothers report significant benefits to their postnatal wellbeing when spending time in nature. Further research is warranted to understand whether nature-based interventions have the potential to support postnatal wellbeing, socially, mentally, and physically.

KeywordsPostnatal depression; Nature; Outdoors; Nature-based interventions; Mothers
Year2023
JournalBMC Women's Health
Journal citation23 (32), pp. 1-12
PublisherBMC (Springer Nature)
ISSN 1472-6874
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-023-02165-x
Web address (URL)https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12905-023-02165-x
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online23 Jan 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted2022
Deposited10 Feb 2023
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