NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Most moms know that their pregnancy is divided into trimesters. Each about three months long.
Those months are usually filled with doctor’s visits, scans, and blood tests – but after delivery that’s the fourth trimester – which can come with serious health concerns that too many new moms ignore.
After having her first child, Rachael Kobb says she felt unprepared for how difficult those first few months could be.
“Just thinking about how people have been doing this forever, and it’s this shared experience that everyone has, yet i felt so lonely and don’t know how to ask for help,” Kobb said.
It’s a time when a lot of new moms struggle.
“Overwhelming and I don’t think anyone can be fully prepared for it because you don’t know until you actually experience it,” said Dr. Megan Gray of the Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital For Women & Babies.
After childbirth, women can go through debilitating physical and emotional challenges, yet are often too focused on taking care of their baby to worry about taking care of themselves.
“It’s very important for new moms to follow up with their midwives or their physicians, ideally sooner rather than later,” Dr. Gray added.
Too many moms aren’t seeking the care they need though.
A new national survey by Orlando Health finds more than a quarter of women did not have a plan in place for their own health management in the weeks following delivery, while over 40 percent said they felt overwhelmed or depressed.
“It was very challenging admitting that because you immediately feel like, I’m a bad mom because I feel this way and you’re not,” Kobb explained.
Experts say seeing your doctor is critical to identifying conditions from abnormal bleeding to postpartum anxiety.
“A lot of it is just reassurance, but some of it, it needs to be treated,” Dr Gray warned.
As impossible as it may seem, experts say sometimes the best and most overlooked treatment is simply giving yourself a break.
“Don’t corner yourself into all these positions where you have to feel perfect. There’s no perfect mom out there. If you’re taking good care of your baby, then you are a great mom,” Dr. Gray recommended.
“It’s identifying that you need help or you need a break, and you should do that without feeling guilty about doing it,” Kobb said.
Physicians say keep a daily log of what’s going on emotionally and physically so you don’t run into the issue of, “oh my gosh, this has been going on for months or weeks and I really need to get into the doctor.”
Take time for stress relief; yoga, exercise, dance class, whatever works for you.