Addressing the Need for Postpartum Care
December 18, 2018
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), nearly 40 percent of new mothers don’t attend even one postpartum doctor’s visit.1 The transition from postpartum care to well-woman care is crucial for the ongoing health and well-being of a new mother.
New guidelines published by ACOG highlight the importance of new mothers having postpartum consultations with their health care providers.1 Many doctors recommend a checkup at six weeks postpartum, but if you have other health issues or had difficulties during pregnancy or labor and delivery, your doctor may want more extensive follow-up.
In this post we’ll explore the areas of mental and physical health that are important to monitor postpartum, according to ACOG.
Physical Recovery from Labor and Delivery
It’s normal to feel tired after giving birth and while taking care of a new baby. Your doctor may ask questions about the quality of your sleep and how you feel you are recovering from labor and delivery. At postpartum care visits your doctor can help identify any physical issues you may be experiencing post-labor.
Pelvic Floor and Vaginal Health
Your doctor will monitor your healing by checking your cesarean section incision or by checking your vagina and perineum for tears. He or she will also check your uterus to confirm that it has contracted.2
While urinary incontinence is common right after childbirth2, be sure to talk with your doctor if you have special concerns or if this condition is not improving with time. Some pelvic floor exercises or stimulation devices may help alleviate incontinence without the use of prescription medicine.
Nutrition and Dietary Needs for Breastfeeding
Healing from labor and delivery and recovering from pregnancy put extra demands on your body. Breastfeeding requires even more energy and calories. Support your health and your baby’s development by talking with your doctor about ensuring you get the proper nutrients through diet and from supplements.
The nutrition required in the third trimester is similar to postpartum for mothers who breastfeed. You still need 1,000 mg of folate, extra vitamin D, and calcium.1 New moms may also want to supplement with biotin to support healthy hair and nail growth.2
Prenate® Restore is a prenatal vitamin with probiotics as well as folate, vitamin D and calcium. It is designed for postpartum and breastfeeding but also is appropriate to take during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about choosing a supplement that’s right for you and your baby during this important time.
Mental Health (Mood and Emotions)
Postpartum depression affects one in seven women who give birth.2 It’s likely that your doctor has a lot of experience with the issue. Be honest about how you feel and try to give your medical practitioner an accurate picture of your mental and emotional health.
If you are struggling with your new role as a mom, feeling run down, or have specific concerns about your mood and emotions, speak to your physician. Your doctor can determine whether your struggles are mental or physical and suggest ways to help you cope.
Lifestyle and Relationship Adjustments
Asking for help from family and friends during your first weeks at home with your baby is one way to deal with the extra stress and fatigue associated with the postpartum period.
Enlist the support of others to help you make lifestyle adjustments. Discuss any difficulties you may be having in relationships or as you make important changes to your day-to-day life.
As a new mom, you should receive ongoing postpartum care, according to ACOG, not just a single evaluation by a doctor six to 12 weeks after your baby is born. This is especially important for women who have chronic medical issues. Their postpartum care plan should include other medical professionals who can monitor chronic health issues after the postpartum period.2
Getting adequate postpartum medical care is essential to the health of every new mom and her baby. ACOG recommends putting a postpartum care plan in place before giving birth.2
The Prenate® Family of vitamins provides nutritional support for women in every stage of pregnancy, from pre-conception through postpartum and breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about whether a prescription vitamin may be right for you.