Essential things to know about postpartum care for new mothers
If you know a friend or a family member who's recently given birth and is adapting to new changes in her life, take care of her physical and mental health. The first few days are very crucial. While this is not new information, many times everyone gets busy with caring for the newborn, while the mother's physical and psychological health often gets overlooked.
- The postpartum period is the first six weeks after the birth of a child.
- It is the most stressful period of the new mother's life where the body is physically recovering from giving birth and the hormonal-neurochemical profile is rapidly changing to care for a newborn baby.
- These changes can be responsible for postpartum blues which in some can develop into severe postpartum depression.
Postpartum is a lovely time, yet a period of adjusting to several new things for the new mother. Healing is an extremely essential part of this period. This is the time for mothers to bond with the baby and have a post-delivery appointment with the doctor. This check-up should cover the physical, psychological, and social aspects of giving birth.
Both the terms, postnatal and postpartum, are often used interchangeably. However, they aren't the same and are linked to the care of two different individuals. Postpartum is used in reference to the new mother, while postnatal refers to taking care of the baby. For smooth recovery, new mothers should not miss their doctor's appointments and should share all concerns without any fear.
Postpartum depression is linked to the chemical, psychological, and social changes that happen when having a baby. But unfortunately, not everyone in India takes the condition seriously. In fact, the mother is expected to keep taking care of her newborn without focusing on her own mental health. Doctors recommend early postpartum checkups to figure out signs of depression.
As a friend, ask the new mother whether she is well supported at home. Check on her sleep. If there are problems, discuss how she can gain support from a partner or others. As a partner, ensure nobody in the household smokes. Women in India often find it hard to share their struggles with family members. Ensure that this is not the case.
Never start working out before getting an OK from your doctor. Certain light exercises help restore muscle strength and firm up the body, improve the mood and relieve stress. Walking is a highly recommended workout. Pelvic floor exercises should be associated with regular activity for ease. Never feel guilty for not being able to look after the baby while you work out.