Phases of Puerperium / Postpartum

What is Postpartum?

  • Also termed puerperium, which refers to the 6-week period following childbirth.
  • Healing process, a time wherein maternal changes occur.  These changes are either retrogressive (involution of uterus) or progressive such as production of breast milk, beginning of parenting role, etc.
  • Promoting maternal well-being during this period is essential for preserving future childbearing functions and for ensuring that she is physically well enough to help incorporate her new child into the family.

Phases of Puerperium

1.    Taking-in Phase
-    This is the time of reflection for a woman.
-    The woman is passive letting other people (husband, nurse, etc.) do things for her and make decisions for her.
-    This dependence is probably due to her physical discomfort and exhaustion from the labor process.
-    The woman may want to talk about her labor.  Encourage her to talk about the wonderment of birth.

2.    Taking-hold Phase
-    This is the phase where the woman begins to initiate action herself.
-    Unlike in the previous phase, taking-hold shows a woman with great interest on caring for the baby.
-    Although this increased independence is good, the woman during this phase may still feel insecure about her abilities in caring for the child.  This is the time where the nurse should provide relevant instructions and adequate praise for the things she does well to help increase her confidence.

3.    Letting-go
-    The woman finally defines her new role.
-    She gives up the fantasized image of her child for the real one.

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