Postpartum in the West

 

In the U.S., it’s all about prenatal care. During pregnancy, your Obgyn or Midwife regularly checks up on you to make sure that you are drinking enough fluids, getting plenty of nutrition, enough rest, and encourage you to do all that you can do to relax and enjoy this beautiful transition in your life.

There are countless services offered to the expectant mom, including prenatal massages, prenatal yoga, and pedicures. People surrounding you pamper you with care and attention. During pregnancy, all the focus is on you. They ask you, “Do you know what you are having?

 

Do you have any names picked out?” They constantly compliment you left and right. “You look beautiful with that pregnancy glow.” Everyone holds doors for you when you walk into a store, and the waiter may give you dessert on the house because you are expecting.

 

All of a sudden when you give birth all of the attention is focused on the baby and you completely disappear from the picture as though you don’t exist. You recover in the hospital for two to five days and are then released.

 

Your Obgyn or Midwife hands you a brief postpartum care checklist, making sure that you look out for any red warning signs like bright red bleeding, excessive cramping, fever, and then they let you know that they will check in with you in 6 weeks. Even at the bookstore, you can see this lack of attention given to the post-delivery period.

 

While there is abundant material on what you should do and shouldn’t do while you are pregnant, there are absolutely no books on postpartum care. Only one chapter may be devoted to it in pregnancy books and it mainly focuses on postpartum depression and breastfeeding. There is certainly a lot more to post childbirth that hasn’t been covered and is overlooked here in the west.  

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