Postpartum care includes all the care a woman receives in the six to eight weeks after the birth of her baby. This period is also known as the fourth trimester because many of the body’s organ systems don’t return to their prepregnancy state until then. It is also a time of adjustment for the new mother and her family.
The best way to prepare for the transition to new motherhood is to build a support network. These friends and relatives can help with childcare, running errands, or taking a new mom to the doctor when she needs it. Some members of a new mother’s support network can be available in person, while others may only be an email or video call away.
When a new mother is in the hospital, staff members try to encourage her to urinate often, about every four hours, because bladder sensation can decrease after delivery. This can prevent the bladder from overfilling, which is a common cause of urinary tract infections in new mothers. They might also encourage her to use a pad to help monitor urination. In some cases, if a new mother is unable to urinate on her own, a catheter might be placed temporarily in her bladder to empty it.
To learn more about women’s experiences with postpartum care, researchers conducted individual interviews with 62 new mothers. Interviews lasted 27–68 minutes and were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. All transcripts were checked for accuracy by a researcher.