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Image of mother holding newborn.
Figure 21.1 Postpartum Complications Postpartum complications can occur at any time from birth to 6 weeks and even up to 1 year after birth. These complications can have a tremendous impact on the birthing person, the newborn, and the family. (credit: “First term Airman, first time father Pt. 3: Welcome to our family!” by Airman 1st Class Travis Beihl/Keesler Air Force Base, Public Domain)

Ideally, the postpartum period is a time for parents to bond with newborns. It is also a time for the laboring person to rest and reflect on the labor and birth. In some cases, however, complications occur and interrupt the routine postpartum course. Some postpartum complications, such as breast-feeding complications, perineal discomforts, and recovery from cesarean birth, are common. Other complications, such as infections, hemorrhage, and depression, can be more serious. The nurse plays a vital role in identifying and assisting persons with postpartum complications and collaborates with other health-care providers to promote the best possible outcomes for both the birthing person and the newborn.


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