Here's How to Create a Postpartum Care Plan
Creating and sticking to a postpartum care plan can help alleviate the stresses of being postpartum—even in a pandemic.
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“Remember that you are in the midst of one of the biggest physical and emotional transitions of your life,” Dr. Madden says. “Try your best to view this postpartum period as a time for rest and recovery.”
This means putting aside productivity goals and instead sleeping as much as possible (including when the baby sleeps if you can!), getting outdoors for some fresh air and movement outside of the house, and practicing self-care in whatever ways feel good to you, whether it’s taking a quiet bath, reading a good book, or chatting with a friend on the phone.
Ask for help.
Reaching out and requesting help is sometimes easier said than done. It can be hard to rely on family, friends, or professionals, maybe for the first time. But asking for assistance is key to saving your sanity and making the postpartum period more manageable.
“If you have a tough time asking others for help in real time, let loved ones know that you will need their help during postpartum before the baby arrives,” Dr. Madden suggests.
You might ask your partner to help with specific household or baby tasks ahead of time, or enlist extended family, friends, or neighbors in a meal train to drop off food for your family. Having these conversations early and often will help you get into the habit of requesting and accepting help.
Do some online research to learn about and take advantage of resources for new moms, Dr. Madden says. This can include virtual visits for lactation and breastfeeding support, like the brand new service SimpliFed, therapists who specialize in maternal mental health, such as Postpartum Support International, and online support groups and sites for parents of newborns and women navigating the fourth trimester.
Ask lots of questions.
Take the time to ask your OB or midwife any questions about your postpartum recovery during any virtual or in-person visits. Dr. Madden recommends questions such as:
- What are the normal changes that my body will go through during this time, and what changes/symptoms should I consult a you or another medical professional about?
- What supplies should I stock up on to help with postpartum healing?
- Are there medical devices I can use to help with recovery?
- What signs of postpartum depression/postpartum anxiety should I look out for?
- How can I best prepare my partner and loved ones to help me during the first six weeks postpartum?
Taking these types of proactive measures may help new mothers prepare for recovery. In fact, Dr. Madden is hopeful that postpartum care plan after the pandemic will include more frequent check-ins from health care professionals, ensuring that new moms have the necessary support in place to help them through this vulnerable time.