You spent months planning for your new baby.
You read the books.
Took the classes.
Researched all of the gear.
Watched YouTube videos.
Followed the blogs.
And then it happened. The baby you planned so much for finally arrived.
If you're like the majority of American women (over 95%) who planned a hospital birth, you probably spent a night or two in the hospital before being discharged with the instructions of seeing your Obstetrician in 6 weeks.
The American Medical Model of Postpartum Care is UNACCEPTABLE.
American women are dying from childbirth related complications at a rate significantly higher than any other developed country in the world. But why?
Growing and birthing your baby is one of the most remarkable things your body will ever do. Birth is sometimes compared to running a marathon, and it's true. You've pushed your body to the limits, regardless of the method of labor and delivery. You might be experiencing a variety of challenges:
vaginal bleeding (lochia)
soreness everywhere - from your perineum to your nipples
What will you do if you have questions about your recovery? Breastfeeding? Newborn Care?
In addition to physical changes after birth, you will likely also experience hormonal shifts. According to PostpartumDepression.org, 70-80% of women will experience some form of postpartum mood disorder ranging from "baby blues" to more serious diagnoses, however only 10-20% of those mothers are clinically diagnosed with Postpartum Depression. What happens to the other ~60% of women? They likely suffer in silence until they see their doctor at 6 weeks.
How can we better care for new mothers and their babies?
Postpartum care in the Midwifery Model of Care is certainly a step in the right direction, and I believe that America could make great strides in improving our horrific maternal mortality rates if medical healthcare providers followed some of the midwifery guidelines.
Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) provide care for the Mother-Baby Dyad through multiple visits within the first 6 weeks after delivery, typically seeing mom and baby:
in the family's home
within the first 24-48 hours after delivery
and again between day 3-5
in the midwife's office
around day 7
The frequent face-to-face contact between the mother and midwife allows for ample opportunities to evaluate and provide individualized, wholistic care to the new family. At each visit, midwives are assessing the woman's physical healing, emotional well-being, spiritual/mental health, and family bonding. They are also evaluating the newborn's sleeping, feeding, eliminating, and growth patterns, making recommendations and referrals as needed.
If the medical community in America adopted a more family-centered approach to the maternity and postpartum care provided, we would see better outcomes for mothers and babies- safer childbirth, reduced instances of postpartum mood disorders, higher breastfeeding rates, and healthier moms and babies.
What was your postpartum experience?
Were you please with the care you and your baby received postpartum?