Kennesaw State Researcher’s Study Helps New Mothers

Yenupini Joyce Adams

Yenupini Joyce Adams Awarded AWHONN Grant

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 18, 2019) — Kennesaw State University WellStar School of Nursing researcher Yenupini Joyce Adams, whose study aims to save the lives of new mothers through postpartum education, was one of only three researchers nationwide to receive a new grant from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). 

“These research studies will address important issues impacting mothers and the nurses who care for them,” said Jeanne Alhusen, CRNP, RN, FAAN, the chair of AWHONN’s Research Advisory Panel. “Nurses are on the front line of health care, and nurse-led research is critical to optimizing health outcomes among the women, newborns and families we serve.”

Adams, Ph.D., RNC-MNN, who is an assistant professor of nursing, will focus on assessing postpartum women’s knowledge of complications. Adams’ research also will identify the racial, socioeconomic and obstetrical factors related to that knowledge. The grant was awarded through AWHONN’s Every Woman, Every Baby program.

“My new study will demonstrate the effectiveness of implementing AWHONN’s Post-Birth Warning Signs Education Program and the impact it can have on patients’ knowledge,” said Adams, who is certified in maternal newborn nursing. “The results of my research will have implications for the postpartum education of mothers and their families and provide important evidence that can guide interventions to reduce high maternal death rates.”

Georgia has the highest maternal death rates in the United States, according to Adams, with an estimated maternal mortality ratio of 46.2 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

“It is especially important to target black women in Georgia, who have a maternal mortality ratio of 66.6 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to 43.2 in non-Hispanic white women and 18.1 in Hispanic women,” Adams said.

“Reviews of maternal deaths in the state show that 60% of these deaths can be prevented,” said Adams. “Most deaths occur due to obstetric complications such as hemorrhage, hypertension, cardiac disorders, embolism and seizures.”

Adams said the key to preventing maternal deaths is knowing the warning signs of complications after birth and seeking immediate emergency care, especially during the postpartum period from one to 42 days after birth, when the majority of maternal deaths occur.

“Once a woman leaves the hospital, the burden is on her to recognize when something is wrong, and seek appropriate care,” said Adams. “A major contributing factor to the high maternal death rates is due to delays in seeking and receiving emergency care for complications. Women’s knowledge of the warning signs of potential complications should be a priority focus in addressing Georgia’s maternal death rates. However, little research has been done on knowledge of warning signs of complications among postpartum women across the United States, and more especially in Georgia, despite the high death rates.”

Adams credits Kennesaw State’s Summer Research Fellows program with helping her win the AWHONN grant. She was one of about two dozen faculty selected for the Fellows program. The new initiative was developed by the University’s Office of Research as a way to support faculty in their pursuit of external research funding, especially the opportunities involving undergraduate researchers. 

About the WellStar School of Nursing

Kennesaw State’s WellStar School of Nursing is the largest nursing program in north Georgia. It offers baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees and has an accelerated track for students with degrees in other fields. Its graduates consistently perform above the national average on the state licensing exam, and its nurse practitioner graduates have a high pass rate on the certification exam. 

About AWHONN

The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit membership organization, based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to empower and support nurses caring for women, newborns, and their families through research, education and advocacy.

—Robert S. Godlewski


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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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