Moms-to-be often spend the none months leading up to the birth of their babies focusing on self-care, but once that baby finally arrives mom-care tends to go out the window. New research shows that moms need just as much care and attention to their health as babies do in those early days of new motherhood.

A new national survey by Orlando Health found “more than a quarter of moms did not have a plan to manage their health after giving birth,” and  more than 40 percent say they felt anxious, overwhelmed or depressed after their baby was born.

“The fourth trimester can be difficult and overwhelming for women as their bodies go through physical and emotional changes, and this time deserves the same support and attention as the first three trimesters,” said Megan Gray, MD, an OB/GYN at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. “Seeing your doctor within a few weeks of delivery and sharing any concerns is critical to getting the care and treatment you need.”

Gray is working to educate new moms in the importance of getting care and treatment for themselves during the fourth trimester. Speaking to your doctor or even your pediatrician at baby well visits about any concerns or overwhelming feelings is important. Developing a circle of friends can also help. If you’re friends are not moms themselves, try joining a playgroup or take a mommy-and-me class where you can meet women who are going through the same things.

“You may feel out of control, and you are. Not every woman is able to breastfeed; your baby may not sleep at exactly the same time every day or drink the exact same amount of milk at each feeding, and that’s okay,” said Gray. “There is no perfect mom out there, and taking some of that pressure off yourself will help you be the best mom you can be and help you better experience the many joys of motherhood.”

—Shahrzad Warkentin

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All photos: Courtesy of Orlando Health

 

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