Why is postnatal care important?
Postnatal care is important in ensuring you are recovering well from childbirth. There are two goals for postnatal care:
Ensuring a healthy recovery
Checking for complications
Be aware that complications may arise even if there are no symptoms!
48 hours after delivery – Pre-discharge checkup The mother and baby will remain in the hospital for a few days after birth. This will ensure they are safe to go home after delivery
1 – 2 weeks post-delivery – Initial Postnatal Care Checkup This visit will be used to:
Check healing of the episiotomy and tears, and wound post caesarian section
Check if breasts are healthy and producing milk efficiently
Check for complications post delivery
Introduction of family planning methods
It is important to return for this visit as there may be complications even if there are no symptoms.
4 – 6 weeks post-delivery – Family Planning and Healing Monitoring This visit is focused on continuing to check on healing and complications post-delivery. In addition, the visit will be used to discuss and receive a family planning method.
It is important to keep the mother and baby safe after delivery. There are several danger signs to be aware of to ensure proper postnatal care.
Danger signs in the Mother:
If you see any of the following signs, take the mother to the hospital immediately!
Bad smell from vagina
Fits or convulsions
Pain of passing small urine
Chest pain or difficulty breathing
Red, hot, or painful breasts
Signs of postpartum depression
The danger signs of postpartum depression include:
Your“baby blues”don’t get better.
Sadness or guilt consume your thoughts.
You lose interest in things you enjoy.
You have trouble making decisions.
You worry you won’t be a good mom.
Your sleep patterns have changed.
You’ve had big, stressful changes in your life.
You think about harming yourself.
Danger signs in the Baby: If you see any of the following signs, take the baby to the hospital immediately!
Difficulty feeding (less than 6 times in 24 hours)
Drowsiness (seems drowsy, less active, hard to wake)
Excessive vomiting (swollen stomach and vomits all feeds)
Swelling (umbilical cord is red, smelling, or swollen)
Reduced nappies (less than 5 wet nappies in 24 hours) But please note that not passing stool for 1 or 2 days is normal for an exclusively fed child
Difficulty in breathing (visible ribs, grunting sounds)
Yellow or pale color
It is best to wait at least 6 weeks before resuming intercourse to give the mother time to heal.
If you choose to have sex, be aware the mother can become pregnant again before her period resumes! Discuss your options for family planning with a Jacaranda nurse
Remember you can become pregnant before you resume your period! Therefore; you should start using contraception 4 - 6 weeks post-delivery.
Talk to a Jacaranda nurse about your family planning options at your 4 - 6 week postpartum visit.
It is possible to become pregnant again before your periods resume.
However, it is advised to wait at least 2 years to become pregnant again. This will help ensure the health of the mother and baby, and reduce the risk of complications in the next pregnancy.
There are several family planning methods that you can choose from to prevent becoming pregnant. Talk to a Jacaranda nurse about your family planning options.