Impact of Postpartum Care on Women’s Health

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Updated: Aug 15, 2023
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The postpartum care (PPC) involves practices that assist mothers in healing and adjusting, mainly after the first six weeks of childbirth. During this period, the mother bonds with the baby while getting a post-delivery checkup from qualified healthcare personnel. The postpartum period remains crucial for both the mother and the infant, as it sets a strong foundation for long-term wellbeing and health. During this time, a woman undergoes many social, psychological, and physical changes. The aim of offering appropriate care is to enable the mother to recover from childbirth, adjust to dynamic hormones, learn about caring for, and feeding the newborn.

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This assistance also aims to give women adequate time to enjoy the excitement and joy of welcoming a newborn. However, during this period, mothers face considerable problems involving fatigue, difficulties in breastfeeding, sleeplessness, pain, and mental health issues. They may also experience preexisting social and health issues attributed to violence, substance dependence, and other life concerns. At this point, the provision of postpartum care becomes essential in helping meet maternal health needs and reducing the severe infant mortality rate. Therefore, this research paper seeks to explain various ways of improving postpartum care to maintain individuals’ wellbeing and eradicate mortality rates.


Mothers act as the primary caregivers for infants, and thus, all aspects related to their health have an impact on infants and overall health. The World Health Organization (WHO) prioritize upholding reproductive health by lowering the maternal mortality rate that follows pregnancy and delivery complications. Inaccessibility and unaffordability of comprehensive healthcare services for some mothers are the primary factors contributing to undesirable health improvement for mothers. According to the WHO, offering relevant postpartum care services is essential to decrease both infants’ and mothers’ morbidity and mortality rates. It is notable that postpartum challenges often lead to women experiencing exhaustion upon delivery due to factors like breastfeeding and depression. As such, acquiring quality postpartum services can enhance a mother’s social and physical health, as well as the wellbeing of her infant.

The postpartum infant and maternal mortality rates are rising at a worrying rate, especially in developing countries. This situation worsens during the first six weeks after childbirth and maintains a consistent rate through the first year due to pregnancy and delivery complications. Every year, about 290,000 maternal deaths are reported worldwide, a number that escalates with the provision of inadequate healthcare services and support in some countries. On an annual basis, an estimated 3.5 million neonates die within the first four weeks of life, amounting to about 41% of overall child deaths, specifically those under the age of five. In most developing countries, one in eight children dies before reaching the age of five, a figure that is significantly higher than the average recorded in developed areas. The fact that most women across the globe do not give birth in adequate health facilities poses a myriad of issues in planning and implementing postpartum care for mothers and newborns. A failure to visit health facilities following childbirth weakens the provision of quality postpartum care in reproductive and child health plans.

While the correlation between postpartum morbidity and mortality exists, many people neglect the importance of improving postpartum care (PPC) techniques to enhance infant and maternal health. Rising health concerns for mothers after childbirth have compelled WHO to publish updated PPC guidelines for newborns and mothers. The protocol includes vital details like timing recommendations, sections of postpartum contacts, and supportive requirements during the first six weeks after delivery. Despite these efforts, many mothers still experience poor support and suboptimal service delivery; the recommended frequency for PPC visits remains unclear in many countries.

Research asserts that community engagement is crucial in improving infant and maternal health through postpartum care. This approach involves the initiation of trained women’s groups participating in learning and action-based practices. These groups, in conjunction with health workers, play a significant role in providing community home visits, leading to positive effects on newborn and maternal health. Several studies emphasize the necessity to upgrade PPC services in healthcare institutions and homes through interventions and packages that improve health outcomes. In addition to this, the insights and expertise of qualified health system stakeholders are invaluable when establishing and designing strategies to improve postpartum care.

The primary objective of designing and assessing interventions for mothers in their first year after childbirth is to determine the gaps in improving evidence-based postpartum care. This focus could help identify ways to organize and offer postpartum services within the health system and home care. After birth, many cultures across the world prescribe recovery and rest days for the mother and newborn, with significant support from the community and family members. This approach dominates postpartum practices including the provision of traditional foods and sufficient support for daily household tasks. These actions constitute the six weeks of postpartum services, offering both informal and formal maternal support. As such, many female medical specialists are qualified and certified to facilitate each woman’s access to the necessary social and clinical resources needed to successfully transition from pregnancy to parenthood.

Postpartum care, crucial for improving women’s and infants’ health, needs to be an ongoing process, rather than a one-time encounter, with support and services directed towards women’s needs. Studies indicate a broad focus on prenatal health, but postpartum care often commences late and is infrequent. In all cases, the postpartum period must be thorough and timely, centering on women. For effective outcomes during this period, ideal care should include an initial assessment, regular investigations to examine and address postpartum health issues, as well as offering ongoing care as required, culminating with comprehensive healthcare visits.


The focus of this research paper is the assessment and analysis of various primary sources that focus on the need to improve postpartum care. These primary sources mainly involve scholarly books, research articles, and documented interviews and questionnaire results, which all comprise the fundamental knowledge of postpartum care. Many primary sources were selected in order to provide a first-hand account of actual practices and procedures to improve maternity and child wellbeing. Every degree of postpartum care, from healthcare facilities and community level to critical stakeholders, was considered. The analysis also incorporated the importance of leading stakeholders in enhancing the provision of postpartum care through feasible and valid interventions. The study population involved mothers and newborns requiring postpartum care. Data was obtained from reviewing and analyzing primary sources.

For the documentation of the interviews, perspectives were obtained from mothers, midwives, and healthcare supervisors. The data collection and analysis concentrated on women who gave birth within the first year and were living in postpartum stage of life. Women who gave birth at home and in health facilities were also considered in their need for postpartum care. The gathered data was presented through a qualitative approach to fortify the understanding on strategies to improve postpartum care.

Furthermore, the questionnaires were formulated and completed during specific home visits for a controlled group of mothers. Each home visit lasted about two hours and engaged at least three to four qualified midwives. The central focus and content of the designed questions worked to provide a clear understanding of the mother’s and infant’s medical files, health condition, physical examination, and recovery ability during the postpartum period. One critical focus was providing consultation and education about the importance of postpartum care by evaluating the mother’s knowledge of the newborn’s unique needs. At the health facility level, we randomly selected thirty mothers receiving routine postpartum care. This provided firsthand knowledge about their current situation and suggestions on improving the necessary care.

The maternal home visits for the questionnaires were challenging, especially for the first visit. For instance, it was often difficult to persuade mothers and their families to open their residences. During these visits, we provided identification cards and recommendations to gain their confidence. After establishing trust, the mothers signed informed consent forms to answer the questions in the questionnaires. The mothers remained calm and aware of the importance of postpartum care and ways to improve varied practices. The questions, formulated by the researcher, underwent an approval process utilizing content validation. The selected group was fully informed about the information provision process and signed an informed consent form thereafter.

In another methodological approach, we performed observations on the provision of postpartum care at all levels of healthcare facilities and community practices. The observation checklist was based on the guidelines provided by the WHO, as well as related primary research reports. The observation method helped in determining and assessing the quality of the postpartum care provided. The checklist mainly involved items relating to the psychological, physical, and medical history of the mother and newborn. Caregivers, mothers, and medical personnel were under observation to examine women’s attendance at postpartum care visits.

The confirmation of the quality, and ways of improving PPC, required the consultation of medical experts. It was necessary to get their suggestions regarding health issues. The approach aided in understanding specific items to include in PPC for excellent outcomes. After various consultations, the definition and development of PPC needed to depend on the WHO checklist to reconsider changes at health centers and community levels.

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Impact of postpartum care on women's health. (2022, Nov 17). Retrieved from