The postpartum visit usually occurs approximately 4 to 6 weeks after delivery. This visit is an important time for a health care provider to assess the condition of the woman and address any problems that may have emerged, including postpartum depression and complications after cesarean delivery or extensive repair from a vaginal laceration during childbirth. This visit is also an opportunity to provide guidance on contraceptive options, breastfeeding, and resumption of sexual activity, and to provide referrals for additional support and resources (i.e. car seat safety, counseling/support after a pregnancy loss, etc).
Beliefs vary widely among refugee women about activity during the postpartum period and the need for medical follow up after delivery. For example, some refugee women may engage in traditional practices that include a 30 to 40 day home confinement period after delivery. It is recommended that health care providers communicate the importance of attending the postpartum visit to refugee women, and work with patients to schedule the appointment for a time that takes into account their home confinement period.
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Contributed by Crista Johnson-Agbakwu, M.D., M.Sc., F.A.C.O.G.