Pregnancy Calendar: Fourth Trimester – Postnatal Care
This period occurs immediately after childbirth, and it includes the recovery of both the mother and the baby. Since the mother will most likely be exhausted during this time, it is important that family members are present to support and monitor the health of mother and child.
Lochia, a period-like flow of blood that can last up to six weeks after delivery; pain from healing tears and stitching; anxiety and moodiness due to postnatal depression caused by fluctuating hormones.
Your newborn will sleep heavily the first week after birth. Your child's eyes will begin to adjust to the light. He or she will most likely drink quite a bit of breastmilk or formula, preparing for further growth.
Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their children, since breast milk is packed with nutrients that can boost your newborn's immune system and development. Organizations like La Leche League International have excellent online and local resources for mothers new to breastfeeding.
Visit your physician for a postnatal check up. This includes a physical to ensure that your child's organs, eyes, and ears are functioning properly. The doctor will also give you a physical exam to ensure you are healing well after the delivery.
Causes for Concern
Call 911 if you experience heavy bleeding a week after delivery, fever, irregular heart rate, dizziness, or unconsciousness.
If your child has a slight yellow skin tone after birth, they might have jaundice. This is a common issue, but have your doctor monitor your baby's bilirubin levels with blood test to make sure they don't need treatment. The yellow hue generally goes away after two weeks with normal feeding. Newborns are at risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) until they pass their first birthday, so make sure to lay a sleeping baby down on their back.