Pediatricians, pediatric nurses, and other pediatric staff can be an important connection to care for postpartum people. Women can suffer from life-threatening pregnancy complications up to a year after birth. During the postpartum period, new moms may not consider that their health concern could be related to their recent pregnancy. You may be able to help get her the care she needs right away.

Listen For Urgent Maternal Warning Signs

When parents come in for infant check-ups, listen for urgent maternal warning signs that may be mentioned. Extreme exhaustion, swelling, or thoughts of harming herself or her baby are important to watch for, among other things, for a full year postpartum. Postpartum people experiencing any urgent maternal warning sign should seek medical care immediately. Consider ways to connect moms to additional care when needed, whether it is emergency care, referrals to other medical professionals or other support services.

In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends routine screening for postpartum depression during well-child visits at 1, 2, 4, and 6 months of age. (Source: Incorporating Recognition and Management of Perinatal Depression Into Pediatric Practice | American Academy of Pediatrics).

Provide Support To Moms

Infant check-ups can also be an opportunity to educate new parents and their support system about urgent warning signs and when to seek medical care.  Encourage moms to attend postpartum visits with their maternal healthcare provider and speak up about any concerns.

Urgent Maternal Warning Signs
  • Severe headache
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Changes in vision
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing
  • Overwhelming tiredness
  • Chest pain
  • Severe belly pain
  • Severe nausea and throwing up
  • Severe swelling
  • Thoughts about harming self or baby