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Importance of Postnatal Care for Mother and Newborn

  • 4.8 (6 Votes)

Post Natal Period is the time after the baby is born and this is the time when maximum care is required by both the baby as well as the mother. You should be aware of various aspects of this phase like doctor visits, health check-ups, breast-feeding, self-care etc. Postnatal care helps the woman in regaining her strength and health.

According to the experts, postnatal period continues till the first six weeks after the child is born. But it can extend up to 4-6 months which means that along with the baby, the mother herself can overcome the tiring experience of pregnancy and bounce back to her healthier self on physical, mental and emotional levels.

Postnatal period can be termed as the most vital period in the lives of both mother and her newborn to achieve and sustain good health in times to come. But as observed by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is also the most neglected period. However with precautions, nutritious diet, personal care, and a good support system at home, one can step into the new phase of life with the best of health and happiness.

In today’s world where a modern woman is juggling between the role of being a mother and a working person, postnatal care right after giving birth often goes for a toss. But the truth is that it is of the utmost importance to regain strength and maintain good health. Postnatal care plays a pivotal role in the life of a newborn and the mother providing them with quality care. It is therefore required to focus on overall health of the mother and the new born right after child delivery.

Postnatal Care while in the Hospital

Right after the baby is born, there are certain things that need to be taken care of like:

  • Maintaining a record of blood pressure, pulse, temperature and checking for any abnormalities.
  • Making sure that complete placenta is out.
  • Checking baby’s health to see he/she is free from any type of birth defects.
  • Ensuring about the blood loss during the delivery and ruling out postpartum hemorrhage or excessive bleeding.
  • Looking for any kind of tearing or damage to vagina, perineum and labia. Suturing wherever necessary.
  • If new mother cannot feed the baby for any reason, medication to stop milk is prescribed and for those breast feeding, baby needs to be encouraged to reach out for the nipple.
  • Encouraging Mother and baby skin-to-skin touch.

Why to Go for Postnatal Visits?

Although for most women and babies, this period is uncomplicated, it is still advisable to recognize any deviation from the expected recovery post delivery. Postnatal visits should be planned for the same. Postnatal care must be done at different levels including internal, external and mental.

Postnatal visits

When to Plan Postnatal Visits?

Your doctor schedules the number of postnatal visits. However, a minimum of 3 post natal visits should be done.

  • First visit: Within 1 week of birth of the baby
  • Second visit: 7-14 days after birth
  • Third visit: 4-6 weeks after birth

It is also important to understand the immunization schedule for the new born.

Risks Factors During the Initial Phase of Postnatal Period

Mothers and newborns are at the highest risk during the early neonatal period (right after birth to 7 days of life).

  • Maternal deaths can occur as a result of various factors like Post Partum Hemorrhage, Sepsis, Hypertension Disorders (Preeclampsia or Eclampsia), Anemia, HIV/ AIDS, Cardio Vascular Diseases, and Obstructed Labor
  • Neonatal deaths can occur due to Diarrhea, Tetanus, and other infections including Neonatal Sepsis, Birth Asphyxia, Prematurity and Low Birth Weight and Congenital Defects

Things to look out for in mothers during Postnatal Period

  • Fresh vaginal bleeding: A little bloody discharge in the postnatal period is absolutely normal. However active bleeding for a longer duration is a danger sign and can lead to severe anemia
  • Fever, weakness to even step out of bed
  • Headache, blurred vision
  • Calf muscle pain, chest pain, difficult breathing
  • Swollen, red and painful breasts
  • Problems with urination or smelly vaginal discharge

look out for in mothers during postnatal period

Things to look out for in newborn babies during Postnatal Period

  • Inadequate breast feeding: Mothers should be encouraged to breast feed and the baby to suck
  • Yellow discoloration of the skin can be neonatal jaundice and requires immediate attention
  • Fever, repeated vomiting, no stool can result from obstruction in the gastro intestinal tract and calls for immediate intervention
  • Hypothermia: Look for signs of baby being cold on touch. Place the baby in skin-to-skin contact with the mother and wrap the baby in a warm blanket. Visit a doctor if the baby’s temperature does not rise
  • Breathing: The baby is in distress if he/she is breathing for more than 60 times/min. Also look for chest in drawing and bluish discoloration of the lips and skin.
  • Red, swollen eyelids or pus discharge from eyes requires specialized care for the baby

How to Recognize and Beat Postnatal Depression?

Postnatal depression is observed in many parents, especially in new mothers who have recently experienced birth of their baby.

It is usually seen in about 1 in 10 women and in duration of one year of delivery. This kind of depression can also be seen in fathers or both the parents. It becomes essential for you to get professional help, as the symptoms may remain for months together thereby affecting your quality of life and that of the baby. In order to combat depression, self-help therapies and plans of action can completely get you rid of the worrisome and sad condition. 

Signs of Postnatal Depression

Many women may not even think of having postnatal depression due to the fact that it can grow at a slower pace to be observed at once. Following are the signs that may help you identify that you might be suffering from the depression:

  • Continuous feeling of sadness and dejection
  • Staying aloof with no interest in the outside world
  • Feeling of tiredness and exhaustion 
  • Sleeplessness or insomnia during night and sleepiness in day
  • Not feeling excited about the baby
  • Staying away from people in general
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Disturbing thoughts about oneself or about the baby

sign of postnatal depression

 How to Fight Back Postnatal Blues?

In a usual case the postnatal blues do not stay for more than two weeks of giving birth in case, for some reason, it decides to stay, you will have to follow the below given instructions to drive it away from your system:

  • It is advisable for the women to eat healthy, nutritious, high protein foods such as meat, egg, fish, oils, nuts, cereals, beans, vegetables, cheese, milk, to feel strong and well
  • Start with self care techniques such as Gentle exercises, taking time to rest, pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercises)
  • Find support groups and family members to talk about your feelings, changes in mood or emotional states
  • Check for hemoglobin levels and other danger signs and follow up with your doctor whenever required

Just like pregnancy, postnatal period is also a special period and can come up with its own challenges for parents. Your preparation should not be limited to just pregnancy but it must also be in consideration to the postnatal concerns and care.

Dr. Aanchal Agarwal

About The Author

Obstetrician Dr. Aanchal Agarwal

Dr. Aanchal Agarwal is an infertility specialist and gynecologist who has graduated MBBS from University of Delhi in 2001 and then pursued DGO from University of Delhi in 2004. Dr. Aanchal specializes in treating patients with IVF, IUI, High-risk pregnancy care and Normal vaginal delivery procedures. Dr. Aanchal Agarwal is at present practicing at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Pusa Road, Delhi. You can find more information on


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Inaya Bansal

All postnatal symptoms are covered by after delivery tiredness. But it's a real issue and every mother and child must have postnatal care. Thanks for the share!

Oct. 13, 2018, 8:09 a.m. 5.0


Bandana Dhami

My sister felt tired and exhausted after her delivery. Is she suffering from postnatal blues?

Oct. 10, 2018, 6:46 p.m. 5.0


Devika Bhatti

I had smelly vaginal discharge and disturbing thoughts for one month after my delivery. I hope I could find this article by then so I could follow the listed steps to fight back postnatal blues.

Oct. 5, 2018, 4:48 p.m. 4.5


Varnika Singh

Is it safe to breastfeed while prescribed with postnatal drugs?

Oct. 5, 2018, 3 p.m. 4.5


Arpita Trivedi

Is there anything which we could do to be safe from postnatal blues after delivery?

Oct. 1, 2018, 2:43 p.m. 5.0


Vimal Bhatt

Sept. 29, 2018, 2:58 p.m. 4.5

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