Dr. Tracey Agnese, a pediatrician in NYC joins Dr. Fox to discuss the importance of planning to take care of a newborn as well as the mother’s needs through the fourth trimester, not just making a birth plan during pregnancy.
Pregnancy can be an exciting time as you await the birth of your new child. However, many mothers are so focused on the actual birth date that they do not put much planning into what comes after they bring their new child home. “I think a lot of pregnant women spend so much time on a birth plan,” said Dr. Agnese. “And you know, I see a lot of them focus on this one day, of the birth of the baby and they don’t really think about what’s going to happen after.” Planning for the time after your baby’s birth is what we will refer to as the “postpartum plan”.
So, what should a postpartum plan look like or include? Dr. Agnese recommends first sitting down and thinking about what your typical day, week, and month looks like. What are your normal activities and responsibilities? Once you have identified all this information, you can write it down to help determine a plan going forward and how you are going to act on it during those first 3-4 months after having the baby. This may include how meals will be made, how other children or pets will be taken care of, how grocery shopping will be done, etc.
Dr. Agnese also says that prioritizing your needs as the mother is also very important. “The first part is just really acknowledging what you need as a new mom, and you need to prioritize taking care of yourself in some way,” she explained. “And that’s one of the best ways could take care of your baby.”
She also recommends identifying two or three people who you can trust to go to for advice regrading the baby and yourself. It can be helpful to speak with a trusted friend of family member regarding parenting anxieties rather than strangers online. Plus, while online groups can be helpful in some instances, they may also be a place where people share the wrong information regarding taking are of a newborn. Speaking with your pediatrician is always a good choice as well.
Lastly, you should plan our whether you are going to breastfeed your baby. If you are, have you educated yourself on what that will entail, and purchased the needed supplies such as a breast pump and bottles? Planning for this can help the process to go smoothly when the times comes.
Taking the time to create a plan that will focus on a new mother’s mental health and physical health, along with preparation for everyday tasks can help to ensure the best care for a newborn baby. The truth is that having a newborn, especially if it is your first, can sometimes be stressful. Having a plan for how to handle these stressful moments can help to alleviate extra anxiety.
Maternal-Fetal Medicine physicians specialize in providing care for women who are at high risk for problems during their pregnancies, but you may benefit from seeing one of these specialists even if you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy. If you have questions regarding your pregnancy journey or postpartum plan, please contact our office today.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!