Physicians and other health care professionals have a new tool to consult when caring for new mothers and their infants.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has created a postpartum toolkit that helps physicians support women in the so-called fourth trimester, when they are recovering from birth and caring for infants.
Almost 70 percent of women describe at least one physical problem during this fourth trimester, including postpartum depression, fatigue, lack of sleep, pain, breastfeeding difficulties, lack of sexual desire, and urinary incontinence, ACOG says.
The toolkit is part of a shift in postpartum care from a single physician visit several weeks after delivery to an ongoing individualized medical process, as emphasized in an ACOG committee opinion released in May.
The toolkit includes resources on key postpartum care topics such as: long-term weight management, pregnancy complications, reproductive life planning, reimbursement guidance, and a sample postpartum checklist for patients to complete before their visit.
“The ‘fourth trimester’ is such an important time in a woman's life, and providing care in this intrapartum time is critical for her and for her baby,” said Emily Briggs, MD, chair of the Texas Medical Association Committee on Reproductive, Women’s, and Perinatal Health. “In the weeks to months after a pregnancy, there is an opportunity to address complications arising from the pregnancy, reproductive life planning, and healthy lifestyle development to improve a mother's experience in future pregnancies or in life moving forward.”
TMA has been actively working to eliminate maternal deaths and in May adopted an eight-point plan to address the state’s maternal health crisis.
Find more information on how you can help reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in Texas on TMA’s website.