Caring for Your Physical and Mental Health After Childbirth

The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here and you’ve welcomed your newborn into the world. Congratulations!  

As you settle into your new role as Mom, your attention will be focused on establishing a new routine, attending to your baby’s medical appointments, keeping up with diaper changes and all the other tasks that come with having a new baby in the house.  

With these big changes, it’s completely normal to prioritize your baby’s needs over your own, but ACCESS’ Maternal Child Health team is here to support and remind you that the best way to take care of your baby, is to take care of your own mental and physical postpartum recovery.  

The ACCESS Family Case Management program team answers common postpartum questions. 


How can I take care of my mental health after delivery? 

There are many mental stressors that come after delivery, including balancing the health of your newborn and yourself along with everyday routines and responsibilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a study shows that about 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the U.S. reported symptoms of depression. 

Postpartum depression is a mental health illness that affects some women after giving birth to a child. 10 to 20 percent of new moms in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with postpartum depression this year alone. 

Baby blues, also referred to as postpartum blues, are a natural reaction caused by hormonal changes that can often cause anxiety, crying and restlessness. Unlike postpartum depression, these feelings usually go away on their own after hormones level out.   

Only a medical professional can provide you with a diagnosis and recommend treatment such as therapy or medication. Your ACCESS provider will partner with you during your routine visits to complete a screening that will help identify these symptoms and recommend treatment accordingly. 

To learn more about postpartum depression and baby blues click here. 


How do I keep myself physically healthy after childbirth? 

The CDC recommends 150 minutes (30 minutes, 5 days a week) of moderate-intensity activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Moderate physical activity can also benefit your weight, reduce your risk of diabetes, and reduce symptoms of postpartum depression. 

Examples of moderate-intensity physical activity include: 

  • Taking a walk around the block 
  • Swimming or water aerobics (once the bleeding has stopped) 
  • Some forms of yoga 
  • Bike riding 

Recommendations vary for each person and your ACCESS care team can offer suggestions for your unique situation. 


Can I be sexually active after delivery? 

Whether you have delivered your baby through vaginal birth or by a Caesarian section (C-section), your provider will supply instructions on how best to take care of yourself and heal after giving birth, including avoiding strenuous activity and avoiding sex for six to eight weeks after giving birth. 

Other things to consider when being sexually active: 

  • There are many resources for safe sex after pregnancy that can help you plan for a future pregnancy or to avoid pregnancies completely, such as condoms, birth control pills, long-acting reversible contraceptives and more. Each method has pros and cons, and you may find that some methods work better than others. It is important to talk to your care team about your family planning goals so they can help you find the best option for you. 
  • Pregnancy is a personal choice and planning for pregnancy looks different for everyone, however, the CDC recommends that individuals wait 18 to 24 months (about 2 years) to get pregnant again. 
  • Although breastfeeding may reduce the chance of pregnancy for up to 6 months, you can become pregnant as soon as four weeks after delivery, even if you are breastfeeding. According to a 2022 study, about 44% of women were susceptible to unintended pregnancy in the postpartum period. 


Why should I wait to become pregnant again? 

Getting pregnant again before the recommended 18 to 24 months (about 2 years) period may result in health risks. During this period, you may still be getting used to routines and stressors that come with motherhood and your mental and physical health may still be recovering. 


How We Can Help 

ACCESS provides a range of women’s health and wellness services to help improve health outcomes for you and your baby, including ACCESS’ Family Case Management program. Our care team can help connect you to the right services and providers to meet your needs. 

Make An Appointment


May 01, 2024