Postpartum Care: First Year after Pregnancy

While caring for their newborns, new moms forget their own health

The postpartum period marks one of the most important transition periods in a woman's life. This time is distinguished by profound physiological and emotional adaptation. Successful navigation through the first year after pregnancy has significant impact on future health and psychological adjustment for a woman and for her baby and family.

The first day
The immediate postpartum period includes the first 24 hours after delivery. During this time, the mother's physical well-being is of primary importance, and attention is focused on bleeding, nutrition and hydration, fever, sleep, urinary and bowel function, breast condition and level of fatigue. Risk factors for postpartum depression can also be identified and include conditions such as:

  • Closely spaced pregnancies
  • Previous history of depression
  • Young age
  • Complications of pregnancy and/or birth
  • Newborn problems and breastfeeding problems
  • Poor marital or family support
  • Recent immigrant status

The first week
The early postpartum period is confined to the first week following childbirth. Attention to the conditions mentioned above continues, but other issues now take on importance. Examples include:

  • Bonding/attachment
  • Infant care
  • Breastfeeding
  • Adjustment to parenting
  • Sibling relationship
  • Marital support and adjustment
  • Extended family relationships
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