LEHI, Utah – Doctors want postpartum care for women to happen a lot sooner the than the usual six-week check-up.
Because the health of new moms is at risk during the weeks after giving birth, the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists has recommended new sweeping guidelines.
Instead of waiting six weeks for a postpartum check-up, women should see their doctors three weeks after giving birth.
They say a “fourth trimester” of care should be an ongoing process, rather than a single visit and women should have a comprehensive assessment no later than 12 weeks to talk about mood and emotional well-being, infant care, feeding, sexuality and birth spacing, sleep and fatigue, physical recovery and chronic disease management.
The changes are in response to the rising maternal mortality rates in the U.S. It’s estimated that 700 or more women die each year from pregnancy-related causes.
“The day he turned two weeks old, I woke up and felt like all of a sudden, I was an empty shell,” said Lexi Ramirez. The Lehi mother suffered from postpartum depression for a year after her son Luke was born. The new mom turned to her doctor.
“They kinda didn't say much about it. It wasn't like a big deal," Ramirez said.
They changed medications, worked with therapists, but nothing worked.
“I became suicidal because it was so out of hand,” said Ramirez.
Her doctors suggested shock therapy.
“I had the procedures done and it was a miracle. It saved my life. It was amazing. It's exactly what my brain needed," she said.
She cherishes every day she has with 3-year-old Luke.
“By my son's first birthday, was the day I sat back and realized I am Lexi again.”
Lexi pleads with new moms to speak up right away if they’re feeling depressed so they can get the support they need in those critical months after birth.
“Depression is different for everyone. My case was real extreme. You can be happy again you can feel yourself again. That's so worth it," Ramirez said.
Lexi is reaching out to other women who are struggling with postpartum depression. On June 16, she is organizing a special hike, called Climb out of the Darkness.
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