Pregnancy is a momentous event in the life of any family. Despite the truism that for the majority of women it is a normal physiological function it is only too recently that we have recognized that for every woman and her family it brings periods of emotional stress. Recognition of the emotional aspects of pregnancy has motivated those serving in the area of maternity care to aid families during pregnancy and to prepare them for the great climax of Labor and Delivery. Because of these dedicated workers many families are now having labors and deliveries which are satisfying to them not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.
What happens after delivery? Too frequently it is an anticlimax. Nurses themselves although frequently interested in the baby, view the care of the postpartum patient as a drudge or distasteful chore. Even student nurses pick up this attitude and reflect it in their care of the mother. Some slight improvement results where mothers and babies are kept together in a rooming-in situation. Why has this area been so neglected? We as nurse-midwives dedicated to the care of mothers and their offspring, convinced of the need for family centered care have an obligation to study and understand the needs of the postpartum mother physically, emotionally and spiritually. The period of maternity care does not end with labor and delivery. We have a responsibility to remember the post partal period.