August 31, 2016
Postpartum Care is Key
When you find out a baby is on the way, your focus is on preparing for his or her arrival. Prenatal care, shopping for baby, and making room in your home and your life for your new child takes up most of your time.
But what about after the baby comes home?
Postpartum care is the care you receive after your baby is born. You may believe that caring for your body is most important up to the birth of the baby, but it is important to care for yourself in the months following the birth.
There are many important reasons to visit your doctor for postpartum care.
Reason #1: Birth is a natural but physically demanding event. Postpartum care ensures proper healing.
Whether you had a vaginal delivery or delivered by cesarean section, your body has worked hard to bring life into the world. Postpartum care will help monitor the healing of any stitches or surgeries. Your doctor will also make sure that you are healing well from a vaginal birth and answer any concerns you have.
Reason #2: A new baby can be emotionally and mentally challenging. Postpartum care can help you adjust to your new role as a parent.
It can be hard to imagine just how much a new baby changes your life. Babies demand energy, time, and attention. The adjustment to this role as a parent can be difficult.
Many mothers may experience what is known as the “baby blues” in the weeks after birth. The quick drop in hormones after birth can result in fatigue, irritability, and sadness in 70 to 80 percent of new moms.
Some mothers experience sadness that goes beyond a few weeks after giving birth. This may be postpartum depression, a treatable mood disorder that affects 10 to 20 percent of new moms.
Postpartum care can help new mothers understand the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression. Treatment for both can help make adjusting to life with a new baby easier.
Reason #3: Postpartum care helps keep babies healthy.
The World Health Organization describes the postpartum time as the most critical but neglected period in the lives of mothers and babies. The majority of infant deaths occur during this time. Proper postpartum care ensures that mother and child are both doing well. Mothers can ask questions about nursing or infant care. This is also a time to address any concerns about the health of both mother and child.
Reason #4: If you have concerns about parenting an infant, postpartum care can offer support and guidance.
Babies don’t come with an instruction manual. Postpartum care can help you gain confidence in your parenting skills. Your healthcare provider can help you find support though classes and “mom and baby” groups. Building a community of supportive parents who are experiencing the same challenges you are can be one of the most valuable parts of postpartum care.
Caring for yourself after your baby is born is important for their health and your own. If you are a new parent and have not yet scheduled a postpartum exam, take a moment to call your healthcare provider today.