After-Delivery Obstetrical Visit
In the weeks following the arrival of your baby, you’ll visit your obstetrical care provider for a physical exam and Pap smear (if needed). Here’s your chance to talk to your provider about family planning; newborn care; postpartum issues, including depression; returning to school or work; and adjusting to the demanding role of motherhood. Your provider may schedule additional postpartum appointments if you experienced complications during your pregnancy, labor or delivery.
We recommend that you talk with your obstetrical care provider to find out when your postpartum visit should take place. In general, all obstetrical patients will have a comprehensive follow-up visit at six weeks after delivery. In addition, patients who deliver by cesarean section generally have a two-week postpartum follow-up examination as well. Even if you’ve seen your obstetrical care provider for a brief postpartum visit after your delivery, it is still important to have these more comprehensive postpartum examinations.
Depression After Pregnancy
Although the birth of a child is usually a happy event, it is not uncommon for women to experience feelings of sadness after the birth. For some women, this might mean postpartum “blues.” For others, it may be postpartum depression.
Postpartum blues affects 50 to 80 percent of new mothers in the first few days after childbirth. You might experience mood swings, anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping and unexplained crying episodes. This is a result of the natural shifts in your hormones after pregnancy and childbirth. However, these blues will usually disappear within a week or two. If they continue, contact your obstetrical care provider to discuss treatment options. One in 5 women with postpartum blues goes on to suffer postpartum depression, so it’s important to know your body and to get help if the blues are lingering for more than a couple of weeks.
To detect if you may be suffering from postpartum depression take about five minutes to answer these self-test questions six to eight weeks after your delivery. We recommend that you bring the completed questionnaire to your provider when you have your check-up appointment after delivery to discuss the results. If your results indicate that you might be depressed, contact your provider and schedule a time to talk about your concerns. Or, for assistance in selecting a behavioral health provider in your area, you may call the Tufts Health Freedom Plan Behavioral Health Outpatient Department at (800) 547-5186.
To make certain that you and your baby are happily settling into your new lives together, and to help your new baby become a healthy member of your family, Tufts Health Freedom Plan covers most members for a home visit from a registered nurse after being discharged from the hospital. The visiting nurse specializes in maternal and child health. This visit is covered on most plans and does not cost you anything. And, if medically necessary, you are also covered for additional home visits from a licensed health care provider. A nurse at your hospital can help you make the home visit arrangements.