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Postpartum Health and Wellness: A Call for Quality Woman-Centered Care

Abstract

Introduction The first 3 months after giving birth can be a challenging time for many women. The Postpartum Health and Wellness special issue explores this period, one that is often overlooked and under-researched. Methods This issue is designed to bring greater focus to the need for woman-centered care during the postpartum period. Articles in this issue focus on four key areas: (1) the postpartum visit and access to care, (2) the content of postpartum care and postpartum health concerns, (3) interconception care including contraception, and (4) policy, systems, and measurement. Results The submissions highlight deficits in the provision of comprehensive care and services during a critical period in women’s lives. The research highlighted in this issue supports the recommendation that Maternal and Child Health leaders collaborate to create woman-centered postpartum services that are part of a coordinated system of care. Conclusion In order to achieve optimal health care in the postpartum period it is becoming more apparent that increased flexibility of services, cross-training of providers, a “no wrong door” approach, new insurance and work-place policy strategies, improved communication, and effective coordinated support within a system that values all women and families is required.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Megan Canady, graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Schools of Social Work and Public Health for her assistance with this manuscript. We would also like to acknowledge the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for their support.

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Correspondence to Sarah Verbiest.

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Verbiest, S., Bonzon, E. & Handler, A. Postpartum Health and Wellness: A Call for Quality Woman-Centered Care. Matern Child Health J 20, 1–7 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-016-2188-5

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Keywords

  • Postpartum
  • Woman-centered
  • Fourth trimester
  • Interconception
  • Maternal health