Postnatal

From Academic Kids

Postnatal (Latin for 'after birth') is the period beginning immediately after the birth of a child and extending for about six weeks. The period is also known as postpartum and, less commonly, puerperium.

Biologically, it is the time after birth, a time in which the mother's body, including hormone levels and womb size, return to prepregnancy conditions. During the first stages of this period, the newborn also starts her or his adaptation to extrauterine life, the most significant physiological transition until death.

A woman in the Western world may leave the hospital as early as 6 hours postpartum, though the average for spontaneous vaginal delivery (SVD) is 1-2 days, and the average cesarian section postnatal stay is 3-4 days. During this time, assessment of bleeding, bowel and bladder function, and baby care happens.

The mother is assessed for tears, and given an episotomy if necessary. Also, she may suffer from constipation or hemorrhoids, both of which would be managed, since many report these conditions to be unpleasant. The bladder is also assessed for infection, retention and any problems in the muscles.

The major focus of postpartum care is ensuring that the woman is healthy and capable of taking care of her newborn, equipped with all the information she needs about breastfeeding, reproductive health, contraception, and the imminent life adjustment.

Postpartum depression (aka baby blues) is very common, with approximately 85% of women suffering from it, potentially as early as 24 hours postpartum. It is usually limited in duration, lasting 36 to 48 hours. Treatment may be required if it lasts longer than 72 hours [1] (http://www.merck.com/mrkshared/mmanual/section18/chapter254/254a.jsp), or is associated with lack of interest in the infant, suicidal or homocidal thoughts, hallucinations, or psychotic behaviour. Approximately 10-20% of women will suffer the symptoms of major depression, and should be treated accordingly. Postpartum depression can be the response to the hormonal changes and life adjustment the woman goes through immediately after childbirth.


Other medical conditions may occur postnatally, such as:

  • Postnatal Psychosis - a more severe form of postnatal depression
  • Sheehan Syndrome

In scientific literature the term is commonly abbreviated to PX. So that 'day P5' should be read as 'the fifth day after birth'.

'Postnatal' can also be used to describe the period of adjustment in the mother's daily life caused by the birth of a child.

See also

External links

  • Merck Manual (http://www.merck.com/mrkshared/mmanual/home.jsp): Postpartum Care (http://www.merck.com/mrkshared/mmanual/section18/chapter254/254a.jsp)

it:Puerperio

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