Featured Scholar: Jennifer Bute, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Communication Studies, IUPUI School of Liberal Arts
Research Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH8f6_uWspM
COVID-19 Birth Stories
In this year-long project, Professor Bute and her research partner, Professor Maria Brann, first conducted focus groups with women across the country who had given birth during a time when their state or local governments had issued stay-at-home orders because of the COVID pandemic. Then, they followed up a year later by interviewing the same women individually to learn more about raising a newborn during a pandemic.
The researchers found that the isolation of stay-at-home orders and changes in health care policies, such as limitations on hospital visitors and in-person appointments, had a profound effect on women. Women discussed in detail the mental health challenges they faced, such as postpartum depression and anxiety, that they felt were heightened because of the pandemic. Women also discussed the challenges of navigating who had access to visit or hold their newborn, which involved keeping their babies safe while contending with family expectations about seeing the baby. The women who participated in the study were grateful for the opportunity to connect with other women with similar experiences to know that they are not alone. They provided recommendations for helping pregnant women and new moms who are navigating motherhood in an unprecedented time, and even spoke to the media about this project so that other women would feel supported.
Professor Bute's translation of research into supportive groups for new mothers is another excellent example of how IUPUI's faculty members are TRANSLATING their RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE.