KENILWORTH, N.J., Nov. 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Expecting mothers devote time and energy to learning how to keep their newborn babies healthy and happy. Yet when it comes to their own health, many mothers don't take the time to learn which changes in their own health are normal and which could indicate a more serious problem.
Challenges and complications during the postpartum period (the six weeks following delivery) are more common than many mothers and their families think. Merck Manuals author and obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Lara Friel discusses these risks in a new editorial on the site.
To help mothers stay healthy and provide the best care for their baby, Dr. Friel shares three things new mothers and their support networks should keep in mind in the exciting time around the birth of a new baby.
1. Know the most common risks to maternal health
Mothers and their loved ones should keep a close eye out for symptoms of four common complications soon after bringing their baby home:
Depression is particularly important to watch for. Rapidly changing hormones combined with a lack of sleep results in postpartum depression in as many of 15 percent of new mothers. It's more common in women who've had depressive episodes in the past.
2. Rely on your village
Whenever possible, new mothers should get some support in the first few weeks after giving birth, which can allow them to rest and focus on their own health. This can be support from a spouse, family member, friend, or hired help.
Family, friends and loved ones should be vigilant in watching for potential negative changes in a mother's health. Mothers may be tired and busy, but they should still be eating, getting dressed and leaving the house. Not doing these things may be a sign of something more than the exhaustion of caring for a newborn.
3. Remember that all pregnancies are different
Maternal health issues are not limited to women who have just had their first child. Every baby ? and delivery ? is different. In fact, the challenges that come with trying to raise a newborn with other little ones at home can often make the postpartum period more difficult on mothers.
Ultimately, mothers should stay in touch with their doctors and find a network of support in the exhausting and exciting time welcoming a newborn into their home. A healthy mother will be better equipped to make sure her baby stays healthy, too.
Learn more about common postpartum health at MerckManuals.com.
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