New mothers are already under stressful situations, and to help minimize this, Safina Adatia has been studying the effect noise has on new mothers. Adatia, a student pursuing a Master of Science degree in family medicine, conducts her research in the postpartum ward of St. Mary’s Hospital in Montreal.
The idea for the project came from the nursing staff’s realization that the noise levels in the hospital were affecting the mothers.
“This really spoke to me because I thought this was something that could have an immediate impact on a new mom,” Adatia explained.
After giving birth, mothers and their newborns need time to rest. Often, though, rest is interrupted by nurses, doctors, and excited family members,
Under Adatia’s observant eye, St. Mary’s, one of the largest birthing centers in Montreal, is conducting a pilot project to institute quiet time for the mothers and newborns to bond and rest peacefully.
The project is currently being run in four phases.
“We’re in the pre-implimentation phase,” explained Adatia. “We’re evaluating the current environment and measuring the number of interruptions that people are experiencing.”
To do this, Adatia measures decibel levels of noise activity in the postpartum ward. She also conducts interviews with patients to determine comfort levels.
“[A] lot of new moms wished they had [a quiet-time intervention after] giving birth,” Adatia said. “[Many think] it would be amazing to have this hour, hour-and-a-half period to rest.”
The next steps, Adatia explained, will be analyzing and interpreting their obtained results. From this data, the team will enter the implementation phase and conduct trials. The fourth phase will be post-implementation, when the team decides if its work has resulted in a difference in the mothers’ experiences.
“Hopefully, quiet time gives mothers the ability [to recognize that] their own mental health is important,” explained Adatia.
Self-care and adequate resting time for mothers is essential, as there is evidence to show that acute sleep deprivation can lead to increased risk of postpartum mental disorders and vascular dysfunction.
“In terms of the moms, I hope […] that [they] appreciate the quiet time, and take the idea of self-care beyond their time at the hospital,” Adatia said.
The feedback has been positive, she explained.
“Everyone thinks it’s a good idea–it seems like common sense,” Adatia said.
While the benefits of a mandated quiet time may not be in hot debate, Adatia has encountered some obstacles in her research.
“Basically, I think the biggest difficulty is the coordination,” she admitted. “When you have doctors, nurses, [and] labs with [different] schedules, you need to work around it.”
With so many moving parts that are involved with providing postpartum care, Adatia is working hard to find time for a daily 60-to-90 minute break.
“Despite the logistical nightmare, this is an issue that requires attention,” Adatia said.