HCA Neighborhood Health Watch: The 4th trimester of pregnancy

HCA Neighborhood Health Watch: The 4th trimester of pregnancy

When we talk about pregnancy, we usually talk about the three trimesters.

But there's actually a fourth trimester. It's the critical time after the baby is born, yet it's rarely discussed.

The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is rising, particularly affecting African-American women, who are four times more likely to die from complications related to pregnancy.

"The fourth trimester is really that definition of the three months after you have a baby, and usually we don't think much about it," said Dr. Amber Price, vice president of the Women's Hospital at Henrico Doctors' Hospital. "We know that that time period is crucial to women's health...Part of the issue is that we lose 40 percent of women to follow up after they have a baby - they never come back for a postpartum visit."

Dr. Price says some of the symptoms new moms should watch for are severe panic attacks, being not able to care for yourself or your baby.

"One of the things that we do see sometimes after someone has a baby is depression so severe that women feel that they could harm themselves or others," said Dr. Price.

Dr. Price says if you feel something is wrong, talk to your doctor - they offer treatment that will help you get through the postpartum period.

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