Being pregnant and giving birth are experiences like no other. So it’s no surprise that they come with unique challenges. Here are five that many expecting and new moms face, with resources to turn to for help.
1. Total exhaustion
Caring for your baby is exhausting! So it’s important to take advantage of your post-birth time in the hospital to rest. If you’re at a Kaiser Permanente hospital, you’ll have access to a team of doctors, midwives and nurses who are all there to take care of you during the healing process.
Once you’re home, ask for help with daily tasks like grocery shopping and errands. Then ask for meals you can freeze from visitors coming to see you and the baby.
When possible, divide and conquer house chores and baby responsibilities between you and your partner. Lastly, accept that all of the dishes and laundry won’t get done most days. Remind yourself you are tired and overwhelmed right in this moment, but this won’t last forever.
2. Health issues for your newborn
If your baby has health issues, be sure to follow up immediately with your advice line or pediatrician. If you’re a Kaiser Permanente member, you can rest assured that Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center has a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with the ability to treat critically ill newborns, as well as premature babies arriving as early as 23 weeks.
For the past 5+ years, this NICU has cared for more than 1,700 babies, including 190 sets of twins and 5 sets of triplets! What’s more, the pediatricians at Kaiser Permanente are highly skilled at answering all your pressing questions and will help make sure you have the necessary follow-up support, such as postpartum classes and check-ups.
3. Trouble breastfeeding
When you’re doing your birth tour of potential hospitals, ask if they have lactation consultants for new moms. From rooting to cluster feeding, a lactation consultant will explain everything there is to know about breastfeeding and help new moms problem-solve their way through any nursing hiccups.
Lactation consultants at Kaiser Permanente will make sure that your latch is sufficient to minimize discomfort and help your baby feed and be set up to thrive. In fact, more than 80% of babies born at Kaiser Permanente Northwest hospitals are exclusively breastfed while in the hospital, and nearly 50% are still breastfed at 6 months.*
4. Feeling isolated
It’s normal to feel lonely taking care of a newborn. But there’s no need to feel isolated. Now is the time to make new friends! Join a new moms group or Facebook group of parents with children close in age to yours, check out storytime at your local library, register for an infant music class or sign up for postpartum workout classes like Stroller Strides (once your provider clears you to exercise, of course!). If you’re signed up for daycare, then contact the center to ask about meeting other families even before your first day.
5. Postpartum depression or anxiety
Not feeling like yourself? Trust your gut and ask for help. Make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible instead of waiting for the 6-week postpartum check-up. Tell your care team exactly how you’re feeling and ask for specific things you can do to relieve feelings of depression or anxiety. Meanwhile, try your absolute best to get some sleep, exercise, “me time,” quality time with your partner and time out of the house with friends, too.
Want to learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s maternity, labor and delivery, and postpartum care? Check out kp.org/maternity/nw
—Whitney C. Harris
*Kaiser Permanente internal data, data covering the period from July 2016 through March 2019.
All plans offered and underwritten by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest. 500 NE Multnomah St., Suite 100, Portland, OR 97232. 2019 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest