There is rising concern over deaths and serious complications related to pregnancy and childbirth among the medical community. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently released an 11-page opinion describing changes they think would improve postpartum care. If adopted, the changes would hopefully improve the country’s woeful performance in maternal health. The U.S. regularly finishes at or near the bottom of industrialized nations when analyzing health outcomes for mothers following childbirth.

One and done

Among the recommendations is a call to make postpartum care an ongoing process of maternal support. At present, many women see a doctor once or not at all in the months after they give birth. This is a dangerous time for new mothers. Seeing a doctor only once puts the mother at risk of a number of serious health problems that can occur in this period.

Maternal health is not ensured, or insured

Part of the problem is that women are not properly covered when it comes to postpartum care. Many insurance plans cover only one visit to an OB-GYN after childbirth. This visit generally comes at least a month after the delivery. By this point, more than half of working mothers have returned to work. This makes scheduling the appointment a challenge. The ACOG report suggested that around 40 percent of women skip the postpartum visit altogether. 

What can go wrong?

While there are certainly cases where a new mother experiences no complications in recovering from childbirth, it is hardly something that should be expected. The ACOG believes that more attention needs to be paid to the health of new mothers because of common issues such as hypertension, diabetes, mood disorders, blood clots and more. Even a normal, healthy delivery takes a tremendous toll on the body and mind. Women who have gone through it require more medical support than they are getting. The result of this lack of care can be tragic.

Source: National Public Radio, “Redesigning Maternal Care: OB-GYNs Are Urged to See New Mothers Sooner And More Often,” By Nina Martin, 23 April 2018