VCU researchers create guide ‘designed to put mom at the center’

VCU researchers have put together a planning guide to help new moms.
Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 5:38 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2023 at 8:50 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - VCU researchers have designed a planning guide to help new moms.

When the laundry’s piling up, the sink is full, and the baby’s crying, the Thrive Guide is designed to help new moms cope and feel supported.

Being a new mom can be absolutely overwhelming. Your schedule doesn’t feel like yours. There are unplanned changes and chaos throughout the day.

VCU researchers say they put a lot of thought into this one-page sheet that is supposed to make it easier for new moms to share how they’re doing and where they could use some help.

“And so this is a guide designed to put mom at the center,” said Patricia Kinser, a doctor with the Department of Family and Community Health Nursing in the VCU School of Nursing.

Kinser says the guide provides resources and providers who can help moms when things get overwhelming. It addresses situations such as stress, anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide.

Researchers say this tool is about more than focusing on mental health.

The goal is to help moms focus on whole health and taking care of themselves in every way.

“There’s a whole section where we tell people to brainstorm about (things like) what’s your normal, where do you feel best and feel most whole, and what are signals to yourself?” added Research Nurse Sara Moyer. “For instance, when I am stressed out, I notice that every loud noise bothers me, and it doesn’t usually. So I would rate that on the Thrive Guide for my sheet.”

They wanted to keep things simple and accessible, so anything you might need is accessible through a QR code.

The one-sheet has helpful resources, so they’re visible and available to new moms.

And the organization also works to help generate strategies to ask for and get help from loved ones.

“And that was because they had had this conversation beforehand and were aware of what their symptoms were as they developed it,” said Caroline Carrico, associate professor in the School of Dentistry at VCU. “How important is it to address those issues immediately? I mean, they do start to really pile up and can develop into more serious mental health issues. But really, you know, you can act on it at any time, and you don’t have to sit with those emotions or those stressors and distressing thoughts.”

Click/tap here to download the Thrive Guide.