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It's Time to Talk About Postpartum

October 9, 2023
Image Credit: Kristina Paukshtite
Image Credit: Kristina Paukshtite

You’ve just delivered your beautiful newborn- now what? After delivery, new mothers undergo dramatic shifts to their bodies and daily lives. Physically, new mothers recover from the strain of delivery, endure breastfeeding pains, and have limited hours to sleep. Mentally and emotionally, new mothers experience a new range of stressors, like exhaustion and postpartum depression.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, around 14-23% of women, experience depression during birth, and a quarter in postpartum. These rates are much higher among those with low socioeconomic status. Not to mention, new mothers are expected to balance all of these newfound self-care challenges with learning how to care for their newborns. Unfortunately, mothers in the United States cannot expect very much support.  

Routine postnatal care within the United States consists of a two-day hospital stay post-delivery and a check-up a whole six weeks later. Between leaving the hospital and this check-up, mothers are left with little to no guidance. A study within the Maternal and Child Health Journal notes mothers are left on their own to navigate new hormone fluctuations, delivery recovery, and care for their new baby. When the time finally comes around for this 6-week check-in, mothers often feel that these check-ins fail to deliver quality care and support for both themselves and their infant.

According to a Journal of Perinatal Education study, about one-third of mothers felt dissatisfied with this check-in, citing they did not feel the check-in sufficiently addressed their health concerns. This study notes that these check-ins are often limited to vaginal examinations and contraceptive education, overlooking the importance of the mothers’ mental and emotional well-being. Considering this, it is no wonder the United States consistently ranks as one of the lowest performing wealthy countries for postnatal recovery.

The United States can learn from its global neighbors. South Korean culture, for example, is a leader in its postnatal care approach. Within their community, the postpartum period is reserved for the recovery of new mothers and their newborns. Mothers are expected to take it easy, allowing for peaceful recovery and bonding. Notably, South Korean culture places a high value on postnatal care, which helps bolster new mothers and newborns in this process.

While South Korea has made significant advances in postpartum care, much of the rest of the world hasn’t followed suit. The Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) notes that globally, 60% of birth-related deaths occur postpartum, many resulting from hemorrhage. They note that from this percentage that 45% of postpartum maternal deaths occur within one day of delivery, approximately 65% occur within one week and roughly 80% occur within two weeks.

Postnatal care is important to newborns as well, as the MHTF also notes that one-third of infant deaths occur during the first four weeks of life, or the neonatal period. Postpartum care thus becomes crucial for the sake of the lives of mothers and infants. In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) created a list of recommendations for mothers and infants during the postnatal period. They recommend at least three postnatal visits after birth, counseling for mothers regarding the physiological and psychosocial aspects after birth, use of iron supplements, and newborn and maternal assessments. These four recommendations, plus many others, will aid in recovery and care for mothers and their babies post birth.

One may wonder, however: Are three postnatal visits enough? WHO recommends the three visits occur on day 3, between 7-14 days postpartum, and 6 weeks after birth. Between those days, many changes are happening to a mother’s body, and the transition into motherhood can be difficult as they are recovering. A center that provides around-the-clock care for mothers and children following birth will allow for a smooth transition and relaxing recovery. Delve into the facilities of Ahma & Co's retreat, where mothers can spend the first two weeks post birth to recoup, recharge and become equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to take care of themselves and their child.

Ahma & Co is an organization that is focused on providing mothers with postpartum services that the United States has not addressed. Welcomed into soft, soothing, and relaxing surroundings, you will be provided the opportunity to have lactation consultations, the warm presence of postpartum doulas, nanny services, pediatric consultation, and a community of mothers to help you as you navigate the time after birth. Our goals are to make sure your transition into motherhood is met with ease, sleep, and comfort. Instead of having only two days to relax post-birth, we will provide you with a full two weeks of recovery, confidence, and joy as you rest, spend time with your newborn, and prepare to enter back into the world as a new mom. Through personalized experiences, all of your needs will be met, and you can transition peacefully into the next stage of your life.

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