Support in the early postnatal period
Our recommendations for the home visit and 6-week check
The early postnatal period is a time of emotional change for most women. Some women may experience distress or symptoms of depression at this time if they feel overwhelmed and unable to manage.
They may also experience disappointment and grief if something has gone wrong or their expectations of the pregnancy and birth are not realised. Early intervention, in the form of support or specific care, can help women to adjust and prevent more serious mental health problems from developing.
- Read the hospital discharge notes and look for red flags (see practice points)
- Provide the mother an opportunity to tell you how she is feeling, really listen and try to gauge mood- explore the birth experience: was it bad, and if yes, how bad was it, and why?
- Check wound healing/ perineal reconstruction and pelvic floor contraction- if poor/ painful/ healing problems, please refer.
- If there is urinary or anal incontinence, suggest a pelvic floor physio, especially before commencing any physical activity.
- Check for pelvic floor muscle function (refer to clinical examination) if poor – refer to pelvic floor physiotherapist but encourage pelvic floor muscle exercise – (refer to CFA website – continence.org.au)
*Many women will qualify for Medicare rebates for mental health practitioners and pelvic floor physiotherapy, please ensure you discuss this with your patient as the cost of seeing a health professional may deter them from seeking treatment.
This information has been designed for health professionals