The American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released revised guidelines on the duration of postpartum care that mothers should receive or seek for during the fourth trimester.
ACOG previously recommended one comprehensive postpartum visit within the first six weeks after giving birth. The revised Committee Opinion now states that postpartum care should be an ongoing process and should not be limited to a single session.
ACOG further advises that all women should contact their ob-gyns within the first three weeks postpartum.
New Guidelines on Postpartum Care For Moms
Specifically, the new guidelines now consist of a step-by-step process that starts with an initial assessment that could either be done in person or by phone. This assessment should be held within three weeks postpartum to immediately address pertinent issues relating to childbirth.
The initial assessment will be followed up with an ongoing care as needed, concluding with a comprehensive postpartum visit no later than 12 weeks after giving birth. This particular visit will serve as the transition to well-woman care or what commonly known as a regular wellness appointment.
The follow-up session should include assessment of the patient's mood and emotional well-being. The patient should also be asked about how she is handling the infant care and feeding.
She should be regularly asked about the use of contraception and her plans on how she will space her pregnancies. Her sleep patterns and experience of fatigue should also be closely monitored, as well as her chronic disease management and health maintenance if any.
The association adds that while postpartum care visits are conducted after giving birth, ob-gyns should begin counseling patients early on in their pregnancies, during their scheduled prenatal care.
The fourth trimester is a period that starts from the time a baby is born and lasts until the baby is about three months old. During this critical period, mothers may feel overwhelmed by the physical changes happening to their bodies, the varying moods caused by changing hormones, and stress of child rearing while they are still recovering from childbirth.
This period will set the stage for long-term health and well-being for the mother, her child, and the whole family.
Importance Of The Revised Postpartum Care For Moms
ACOG aims to address the concerning maternal morbidity and mortality among mothers after childbirth. The redefined guidelines are intended to meet the postpartum needs of all women, including those who are at risk of falling out from care, explained Dr. Haywood Brown, president of ACOG.
The association hopes that the initiative will provide new families a comprehensive care plan and mothers a care team that will address their needs following births, adds Dr. Alison Stuebe, lead author of the revised Committee Opinion.