The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) Committee on Obstetric Practice has issued a committee opinion on optimizing postpartum care, recommending that anticipatory guidance should begin during pregnancy and that during the postpartum period, a single health care practice should ideally assume responsibility for coordinating the women’s care. The ACOG also makes the following recommendations and conclusions:
• Currently, as many as 40% of women do not attend a postpartum visit. Active engagement in patient-centered, maternal postpartum care has the potential to improve outcomes for women, infants, and families and support ongoing health and well-being.
• To optimize postpartum care, anticipatory guidance should begin during pregnancy. During antenatal care, it is recommended that the patient and her obstetrician–gynecologist or other obstetric care provider formulate a postpartum care plan and identify the health care professionals who will comprise the postpartum care team for the woman and her infant.
• Ideally, during the postpartum period, a single health care practice assumes responsibility for coordinating the woman’s care.
• Early postpartum follow-up is recommended for women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
• It is recommended that all women undergo a comprehensive postpartum visit within the first 6 weeks after birth.
• Systems should be in place to ensure that women who desire long-acting reversible contraception or any other form of contraception can receive it during the comprehensive postpartum visit, if immediate postpartum placement was not done earlier.
• Recommended anticipatory guidance at the postpartum visit includes infant feeding, expressing breast milk if returning to work or school, postpartum weight retention, sexuality, physical activity, and nutrition.
• Any pregnancy complications should be discussed with respect to risks for future pregnancies, and recommendations should be made to optimize maternal health during the interconception period.
• At the conclusion of the postpartum visit, the woman and her obstetrician–gynecologist or other obstetric care provider should determine who will assume primary responsibility for her ongoing care.
Optimizing postpartum care. Committee Opinion No. 666. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol. 2016;127:e187-92.
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