New moms have a lot do. Sometimes they forget that they need to take care of themselves during the first few months with baby. That's why providers now call your initial 12 weeks at home "the fourth trimester." During this vital time, you are shifting from pregnancy into your new-normal mode.
Carle Health Methodist is here to help you plan for this important time. One helpful tool is a postpartum plan, which organizations like the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend. A postpartum plan is a list or document that helps you keep track of your health and organize help for you and baby.
One important part of your postpartum plan is communication. Your providers need to know you just had a baby, so that they can check for certain concerns, especially in an emergency.
Carle Methodist Birthing Center has this part of your plan covered. We send you home wearing a stylish teal bracelet. Doctors in our community know that it means you recently had a baby. We suggest you wear it for 6 weeks.
What Is a Postpartum Plan?
Your first months at home will be smoother if you have a process to move into parenthood. A postpartum care plan is helpful even if this is not your first baby. Start while you're pregnant and ask your providers and Methodist team for help.
What Should a Postpartum Plan Include?
Your plan may include a care plan and a support plan. A care plan is specific to your health needs. It might include changes in your prescriptions or conditions you should watch for, like signs of postpartum depression. A support plan helps you and your partner organize help with the baby and "you" time.
You and your provider can develop a care plan together. Your plan should help you move from pregnancy into well-woman mode. It should include your family plans so you and doctor can discuss contraceptive decisions.
Health Care Topics for a Postpartum Plan
You may want to discuss the following topics with your provider:
Postpartum Support Plan
Some moms create a postpartum support plan. It puts information about your "village" of support at your fingertips. You or your partner can reach out for help when you need it. Some things you might include in your postpartum support plan are:
While your baby's first months are a time of joy, you should be aware of a few things. Protect your health and watch for symptoms of:
If you have signs of postpartum depression, talk to your provider right away. They can help figure out if you have something more than standard "baby blues." Be alert for:
Sometimes depression shows up in other ways. You may:
Carle Health Methodist offers Moms Matter mental health support group every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. Our trained staff listens to you and gives you support during your transition.
This very rare condition occasionally occurs in the 6 weeks following pregnancy. It's one of the reasons your providers want you to wear the teal bracelet. Watch for the following signs and call your provider, 911 or go to the ED if you have them:
Excessive postpartum bleeding or hemorrhage
Some bleeding is common after you have a baby. But if you have excessive bleeding, you'll need to take action. Call your doctor if you have these postpartum bleeding symptoms:
In most cases, breastfeeding happens naturally for both mom and baby. But sometimes you may run into issues. Carle Methodist Birthing Center has your back with a host of programs available when you go home. Learn how we can help with breastfeeding support after you go home.
You and your provider should talk about your postpartum visit plan while you are pregnant. Your plan should focus on your individual health needs and consider issues you encountered during pregnancy. The newest recommendations for the fourth trimester are: