Pulse Administrator
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The World Health Organization (WHO) today launched its first ever global guidelines to support women and newborns in the postnatal period – the first six weeks after birth. This is a critical time for ensuring newborn and maternal survival and for supporting healthy development of the baby as well as the mother’s overall mental and physical recovery and wellbeing.

Over 60 recommendations that help shape a positive postnatal experience for women, babies and families.
These include:

High quality care in health facilities for all women and babies for at least 24 hours after birth, with a minimum of three additional postnatal checkups in the first six weeks. These additional contacts should include home visits if feasible, so that the health worker can support the transition to care in the home. In the case of a home birth, the first postnatal contact should occur as early as possible, and no later than 24 hours after birth;

Steps to identify and respond to danger signs needing urgent medical attention in either the woman or the baby;

Treatment, support and advice to aid recovery and manage common problems that women can experience after childbirth, such as perineal pain and breast engorgement ;

Screening of all newborns for eye abnormalities and hearing impairment, as well as vaccination at birth;

Support to help families interact and respond to babies’ signals, providing them with close contact, warmth and comfort;

Exclusive breastfeeding counselling, access to postnatal contraception and health promotion, including for physical activity;

Encouragement of partner involvement, by being part of checkups, for instance, as well as providing support to the woman and attending to the newborn;

Screening for postnatal maternal depression and anxiety, with referral and management services where needed.

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