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Postpartum Care

new born baby

Postpartum Care for the High-Risk Pregnancy

Preeclampsias, multiples (twins, triplets, or more), maternal age at an extreme of the childbearing range, and gestational diabetes are some of the many things that can place an expecting mother in the high-risk category. No matter the reason, you were considered a high-risk pregnancy, excellent postpartum care can ease the transition from a difficult pregnancy to the whirlwind of those first postpartum weeks.

In The First Few Hours

Congratulations! You have just done the hardest work of your life and your sweet baby is here. The anxiety of carrying your baby through a high-risk pregnancy is over. Soon an entirely new form of anxiety will descend motherhood! First, it is time to let you be cared for.

What your caretakers might do:

Watch you closely for signs of postpartum hemorrhage

Help you feed your baby for the first time

Help you manage any pain you might experience

Continue to monitor the symptoms of mothers who experienced conditions like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes

What you can do for yourself:

Accept help. Many hospitals have specialists on staff to help with feeding, basic baby care, and the emotional health of the mother. They are there to help you succeed, and women coming into motherhood after the physical and emotional difficulties of a high-risk pregnancy need lots of support and encouragement.

Sleep when the baby sleeps (if you can!). Adequate rest is essential for recovery after the hard work of labor and birth, and especially for the high-risk mother. Your stay in the hospital is a good time to try to rest as much as you can. Some nurses will even volunteer to hold your baby while you sleep. Partners and family members may also be good for this. Do not be afraid to take them up on it so you can get some much-needed rest.

Delegate, If at all possible, let your partner, a family member, or friend handle tasks like phone calls and fielding visitors.


Certain high-risk pregnancy factors, such as abnormal presentation, twins, or placenta-previa, may require delivery by cesarean. Recovery after a C-section can be challenging. Good postpartum care is essential for optimum recovery.

What caretakers might do:

Monitor the incision site closely for signs of separation and infection

Encourage you to get mobile as quickly as possible

Offer extra support with feeding and taking care of baby

What you can do for yourself:

Keep the site of the incision clean and dry. Watch for any redness and tenderness.

Do not lift or carry anything heavier than your baby until your care provider clears you.

Do not be in a hurry. Roughly one-third of babies in the US are delivered by C-section, and as a culture, we tend to perceive them as straightforward procedures. Just remember that a cesarean is massive abdominal surgery and your body needs lots of rest and gentle care while it heals.

When You Get Home

Postpartum care does not end once you leave the hospital. Good care and support at home is essential while you adjust to life with your newborn.

What partners or family members/friends can do:

As much as possible for several days or weeks postpartum, the mother should concentrate on taking care of herself and her newborn. Help with housework, meal preparation, and caring for older children is important.

Understand that the stress of a high-risk pregnancy and subsequent birth can cause a whirlwind of emotions for the mother. She will need lots of understanding and support.

What you can do for yourself:

Relax. The first few weeks home with a newborn are both precious and exhausting. Enjoy this time and try not to worry about cleaning your house, running errands, or entertaining guests.

Do not be afraid to keep visits short. Family and friends will be eager to come meet your new baby, but remember that rest is important for both baby and you. Your high-risk pregnancy was physically and emotionally taxing and there may be times when it's more appropriate to keep friends and family members updated via email or phone if you aren't feeling up to entertaining visitors.

Pamper yourself. You deserve a massage, a pedicure, a good book to read, or a binge of your favorite TV show.

Listen to your body. If you experience pain, discomfort, or feelings of illness or depression, tell your care provider and get help.

Follow-Up Care

Sometimes the condition that placed you at high-risk may necessitate more care after you leave the hospital. Conditions like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes may require further treatment even after your baby is born. It is important to follow up regularly with your care provider postpartum so he or she can quickly detect any arising complications.

Postpartum Depression

Certain studies suggest that women with high-risk pregnancies can be more likely to develop postpartum depression. Good postpartum care involves not just the physical well being of the mother, but her emotional and mental health as well. Indicators of postpartum depression include:

Feelings of sadness that occur every day

Loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy

Excessive sleepiness, or trouble sleeping, even when your baby is asleep

Excessive weight loss or gain over a short period of time

Difficulty focusing or staying motivated

Feeling as if you have no energy

If you find yourself experiencing any of these, get help!

Postpartum depression is very common and your doctor or midwife can offer help and support as a part of your postpartum care.

Recovering after a high-risk pregnancy can challenge mothers in many ways. Quality postpartum care can help you navigate this difficult time successfully.