Postpartum care should become an ongoing process, rather than a single encounter, with services and support tailored to each women’s individual needs. This according to a recent committee opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which offers the following recommendations and conclusions to optimize the health of women and infants in the weeks following birth:
- To optimize the health of women and infants, postpartum care should become an ongoing process, rather than a single encounter, with services and support tailored to each woman’s individual needs.
- Anticipatory guidance should begin during pregnancy with development of a postpartum care plan that addresses the transition to parenthood and well-woman care.
- Prenatal discussions should include the woman’s reproductive life plans, including desire for and timing of any future pregnancies. A woman’s future pregnancy intentions provide a context for shared decision-making regarding contraceptive options.
- All women should ideally have contact with a maternal care provider within the first 3 weeks postpartum.
- The timing of the comprehensive postpartum visit should be individualized and woman-centered.
- Women with pregnancies complicated by preterm birth, gestational diabetes, or hypertensive disorders of pregnancy should be counseled that these disorders are associated with a higher lifetime risk of maternal cardiometabolic disease.
- Women with chronic medical conditions should be counseled regarding the importance of timely follow-up with their obstetrician–gynecologists or primary care providers.
- For a woman who has experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death, it is essential to ensure follow-up with an obstetrician–gynecologist or other obstetric care provider.
Optimizing postpartum care. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 736. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol. 2018;131:e140–50.
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