Postpartum Care + Support
In the United States postpartum care is minimal and is also one of the most underdiscussed and understudied issues in medicine.The typical postpartum hospital stay is less than 48 hours. Women are usually sent home with ample resources about their babies and little guidance about how they can care for their own bodies, and how their partners, friends, and families might help them. Following this brief hospital stay, a routine 6-week checkup. In that 6-week time period the mom does not receive any medical assistance with recovery. During this time her body is tasked with closing the vaginal canal and cervix; her uterus is to clear out all of the leftover lochia (pregnancy matter) and reduce down to its normal size; her abdominal organs return into place allowing her elimination functions (urine and bowel movements) to normalize; delivery tears and stitches (if any) have to heal; the abdominal skin is to retract and the leftover pregnancy weight is supposed to shed. Common complications include postpartum contractions, painful stitches or an infection. Needless to say, recovery can be daunting, especially when moms do not receive much instruction on what recovery entails or how to help along the process. In many cases, full recovery never happens.