Fourth Trimester: Postpartum Care (Delivery – 12 weeks post)
The postpartum period, also referred to as the fourth trimester, starts after the delivery of baby and usually lasts up to 12 weeks. It's a critical period for a woman and her infant, setting the stage for long-term health and well-being. Immediately following your baby's birth, your body will undergo physical changes that will require special care. You'll want to take good care of your body to more easily recover from the demands of childbirth and labor, and Kelsey-Seybold is here to help moms adapt to the many changes that go along with the arrival of a newborn.
At your six-week postpartum check-up, your obstetrician will ask you what your plans are for contraception, and this is a good time to have an honest conversation with your partner about how you will both work together to prevent another pregnancy until you're both ready. There are many options available to couples now, and your obstetrician can help guide you to make a decision that's best suited to your needs.
It's common for new mothers to feel upset or anxious after childbirth. Many have feelings of sadness called postpartum blues or "baby blues." When these feelings are more extreme and last longer than a week or two, it may be a sign of a more serious condition known as postpartum depression.
Often, women with postpartum depression aren't aware they're depressed. Typically, it's their partners who first notices the signs and symptoms:
- Look for these signs and symptoms of postpartum depression:
- The baby blues don't start to fade after a week or are getting worse
- The feeling of sadness, doubt, guilt, or helplessness seems to increase each week and get in the way of your normal routine
- The feelings are getting in the way of caring for yourself or your baby
- You're having trouble doing tasks at home or at your job
- Changes in appetite - increase or decrease
- Things that used to bring pleasure no longer do
- Concern and worry about the baby are too intense, or interest in the baby is lacking
- You feel panicked or anxious, even afraid to be left alone with the baby
- You fear harming the baby; these feeling may lead to guilt, which may make the depression worse
- You have thoughts of self-harm or even suicide
Sex After Baby
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there's no set "waiting period" before a woman can have sex after childbirth, although some healthcare professionals recommend waiting four to six weeks.
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