The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.


Following birth, many cultures prescribe a 30–40-day period of rest and recovery, with the woman and her newborn surrounded and supported by family and community members (7). Many agrarian cultures enshrine postpartum rituals, including traditional foods and support for day-to-day household tasks. These traditions have been sustained by some cultural groups, but for many women in the United States, the 6-week postpartum visit punctuates a period devoid of formal or informal maternal support. Obstetrician–gynecologists and other women’s health care providers are uniquely qualified to enable each woman to access the clinical and social resources she needs to successfully navigate the transition from pregnancy to parenthood.

ACOG committee option, # 736 May 2018


  • The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson
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