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ACOG Committee Recommends Better, Ongoing Postpartum Care

Provider contact within three weeks, comprehensive follow-up by 12 weeks rather than single visit

THURSDAY, April 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Postpartum care should become an ongoing process rather than a single visit in order to optimize the health of women and infants, according to a Committee Opinion published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Noting that the weeks after birth are a critical period for women and infants, researchers from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Obstetric Practice address postpartum care and optimizing health during this period.

The authors write that postpartum care should become an ongoing process rather than a single encounter and that services and support should be tailored to each woman’s needs. Within the first three weeks postpartum, women should have contact with their obstetrician-gynecologists or other obstetric care providers. Ongoing care should be provided as needed after this initial assessment, with a comprehensive postpartum visit no later than 12 weeks after birth. A full assessment of physical, social, and psychological well-being should be included in this visit. Policy changes will be necessary to optimize care and support for postpartum families; reimbursement policies that support postpartum care as an ongoing process should be encouraged.

“Obstetrician-gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should be in the forefront of policy efforts to enable all women to recover from birth and nurture their infants,” the authors write. “This Committee Opinion has been revised to reinforce the importance of the ‘fourth trimester’ and to propose a new paradigm for postpartum care.”

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