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Objective: Postnatal follow-up care (PNFC) is important to promote maternal and newborn health and wellbeing. In Oman, women’s utilisation of postnatal follow-up services has declined with rates as low as 0.29 (mean visits) in some Governorates; well below the recommended postnatal follow up visits at two- and six-weeks for assessment of mother and newborn. The reasons for low utilisation are not well understood. The aim of this study is to explore women’s views and identify factors that influence their utilisation of postnatal follow-up services. Methods: Purposive sampling and semi-structured telephone interviews with 15 women aged 20 to 39 years at six to eight weeks post childbirth between May 2021 to August 2022. Data were analysed using Erlingsson and Brysiewicz content analysis approach. Results: Six categories were identified as influencing PNFC utilisation: 1) need for information; 2) experiences and expectations; 3) family support, expectations and customs; 4) sociocultural beliefs and practice; 5) impact of Covid-19 and 6) the healthcare environment. Influencing factors within each category include the need to: empower women, provide individualised care, address family and community expectations, offer alternatives to face-to-face clinic visits, provide organised, scheduled appointments. Conclusion: Women in Oman identified the need for consistent information from health care providers (HCPs), a more organised postnatal follow-up service including scheduled appointments and a woman-centred approach to PNFC.
Keywords: Postnatal care; postpartum period; qualitative research.
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