The opinion urges providers to better support the individual needs of new mothers and to help pregnant women prepare for the postpartum period.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Obstetric Practice issued new recommendations on optimizing postpartum care during the time commonly known as the fourth trimester. The opinion is published in the June 2016 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Dr. Alison Stuebe, associate professor of maternal-fetal medicine at UNC OB-GYN and Distinguished Scholar of Infant and Young Child Feeding in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, was the lead author of the opinion, which urges providers to better support women who have just given birth.
“We encourage providers to partner with women during pregnancy to begin planning for the Fourth Trimester,” said Dr. Stuebe, who is co-founder of the 4th Trimester Project. “Each woman has different postpartum needs, and we recommend that she and her provider identify members of her postpartum care team and develop an individualized postpartum care plan.”
The postpartum care team may include the woman’s family and friends, her maternity provider, her infant’s provider, and community supports, such as home visitors, mothers’ groups and peer counselors. The care plan addresses each woman’s plans for infant feeding, future pregnancy plans, and specific health needs.
Dr. Stuebe added, “As ob-gyns, we should leverage our community’s resources to provide patient-centered care for new mothers.”