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Medical Conditions & Treatments

Postpartum Care: Mom’s Path to Recovery After Baby Arrives

Moms-to-be spend a lot of time seeing their OB/GYN providers during their pregnancies. They come in for regular checkups, hear their baby’s heartbeat, and form great relationships with their care teams over the many months of pregnancy. But what about after the baby is born?

“Postpartum” is what we call the time after a mom delivers her baby. It usually lasts six to eight weeks after the baby is born, but it can last as long as a year.

This time after a baby’s birth is critical for both mom and her infant. It’s important to make sure that moms get the care and support they need. At Holston Medical Group, we care for our new-mom patients as much as our new-baby patients. Getting a postpartum checkup from an OB/GYN provider and having a great care team relationship can help keep moms healthy.

What is a Postpartum Appointment?

In the excitement that comes from a new addition to the family, it’s easy to focus on the new baby. Postpartum care gives moms some much-needed attention, too.

Doctor visit with mother after birth

A woman’s body goes through many changes during pregnancy, and each woman’s recovery is unique. At a postpartum visit, we check to see that the new mom is recovering well, answer questions about getting back to normal activities, discuss her care and her baby’s care, family planning or contraception needs, and make sure that she has the support she needs. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Moms, too, need “a village” around them after the baby comes. The extra help can set the stage for long-term health and well-being.

At the postpartum visit, we also discuss shifting regular checkups to an HMG primary care provider (PCP). Because of the relationships we build with moms during their pregnancies, we can suggest the right PCP to make sure they get the quality care they need.

When to Schedule a Postpartum Appointment

I like to see my new-mom patients within the first four weeks after their baby is born. How soon I see them varies:

  • Low-risk patients: Moms who had a normal pregnancy and normal birth will come in about four weeks after the baby is born.
  • Medium-risk patients: Moms who had a C-section or other incisions during the baby’s birth will come in about two weeks after having the baby.
  • High-risk patients: Moms who have chronic illnesses like diabetes, kidney disease, or high blood pressure will need to be seen within a week or a week after the baby is born.

We discuss with our patients potential complications in the postpartum period such as:

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Infection
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Blood clots
  • Heart failure

Dads, non-birth partners, family members, and friends can watch for signs of health issues, too. A mom should see her provider or go to an emergency room for issues including:

  • Severe headaches that don’t go away with medicine
  • Ongoing fever higher than 100.4 degrees
  • Pulse higher than 110 beats per minute
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Redness, tenderness, or discharge at the incision site (for C-sections)

Allow Time to Heal After a Baby

No two pregnancies or babies are the same. Whether this is a family’s first baby or not, learning and healing come with time.

It can take six months to a year for moms to start feeling “normal” again. And being a new mom is as much a mental health journey as a physical one. Depression—or “baby blues”—is very common. But HMG can help. Whole-person care is what HMG is all about.

Christolpher getting an allergy shot
Being a new mom can be a both a physical and mental health journey. Depression, or “baby blues” is very common.

In the meantime, new moms should give themselves some grace. Examples of how to do that include:

  • Give yourself time to rest. It’s OK to limit the time and the number of people who visit. Remember the phrase: “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
  • Avoid too much activity.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables to help your body recover and give your baby nutrients if you are breastfeeding.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your HMG providers are always here to support you.

If you’re a new mom, be sure to schedule your postpartum visit. We can care for you and connect you to great pediatric and Family Medicine providers. We know that healthy moms help ensure healthy children.

To schedule an appointment with an HMG Seasons for Women provider, call 423-844-1399 or please visit our OB/GYN page.