What is Your Post-Birth Plan?

Many of you saw the article that NPR published some weeks ago (see screen shot below) and were quite shocked by what you read.


Here’s a bit from that article:

“Nearly half of the nurses who responded to the survey were unaware that maternal mortality has risen in the U.S. in recent years, and 19 percent thought maternal deaths had actually declined. “If [nurses] aren’t aware that there’s been a rise in maternal mortality, then it makes it less urgent to explain to women what the warning signs are,” says study co-author Debra Bingham, who heads the Institute for Perinatal Quality Improvement and teaches at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

Only 12 percent of the respondents knew that the majority of maternal deaths occur in the days and weeks after delivery. Only 24 percent correctly identified heart-related problems as the leading cause of maternal death in the U.S.”

If you missed this article, please take a few minutes to read it here . . . 

Moms are urged to create a birth plan, but what about their post-birth plan?
For example . . .
As an additional response to this article, we wanted to get the perspective of an experienced birth worker who spends quite a lot of one-on-one time with new moms, Sarah Newton – a doula in Richmond, Virginia.

We are in a society that places a lot of attention on baby once baby has arrived. And we think that everything is under control and great because a new mom has her baby. The truth is that mommas are lost in the shuffle. Babies need to be cared for, but if you have a new momma who is well cared for, fed, supported, and educated on what they need to look for and be aware of….I promise you, that baby is taken care of as well, and will lack for nothing. The longer I am a doula the more I see the importance of it.

There are so many important benefits in helping educate and prepare new couples for birth, as well as with hands-on support during labor and delivery. There is a HUGE benefit to postpartum support as well. I have supported 92 families over the last 6 years now, and in that time I have observed a large lack of support after delivery for new moms – or any moms for that matter. They leave the hospital with a pat on the back, as if to say…you can handle it all.

Now, perhaps that is true. Perhaps these moms are extraordinary and they can handle it all. But that is not often the case. They shouldn’t have to be expected to carry the intense emotional load of how to be a mother along with healing a newly postpartum body AND having a tiny new baby to nurture, feed, and care for. Sleep deprivation and the knowledge needed to take care of a tiny new baby at home is, at the very least, overwhelming…so giving new moms easy-to-follow instructions is important.

Specific training on this for nurses is a great idea, alongside a reminder that even though this is a hard topic to discuss with their patients, it’s still extremely important if they truly want those families to have the “happily ever after” they imagine. Educated women are better able to handle things after going home because they were given good information before arriving there.

Having a postpartum doula or an in-home nurse visit new moms shortly after arriving home could really help these statistics as well, because they can ensure they are getting all the help they need. While they are not trained to make a medical diagnosis, postpartum doulas can certainly identify symptoms of postpartum depression or hear when a mom says she’s experiencing XYZ symptoms in her body, and encourage her to contact her care provider or 911.


Sara NewtonSarah Newton is a doula, serving Richmond VA, Chesterfield, Petersburg, Hopewell, Colonial Heights and the surrounding areas.
With years of doula experience, she is ready to support you through your birth journey. She is passionate about guiding women and their families through pregnancy, childbirth, and the post-partum while attending all types of births as a doula! Her goal is to educate, encourage, and support women during this incredible journey to motherhood… Whether it be the first or fifth time…medicated or natural birth….cesarean birth or vaginal birth…whether it is a home birth, hospital, or birth center. Each mother deserves to be unconditionallysupported emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Visit Sarah’s website to learn more about how a doula can support you through your journey of motherhood,


Have something more to add to this response on the NPR article? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, or write to us at: whptrichmond@gmail.com



Published by Dr. Cora T Huitt

Cora T. Huitt, PT, DPT, BCB-PMD ~Thirty seven years of clinical practice, specializing in women's health for fifteen years. ~BS Degree in Allied Health Professions, Ohio State University, '72. ~Master of Arts in College Teaching (MACT) focus in Physical Therapy & Therapeutic Exercise, University of North Carolina, '76. ~ Doctorate of Physical Therapy, Alabama State University, 2010 ~Attended multiple courses offered in Women's Health Physical Therapy, including Pelvic 1, 2, 3 Course in Women's Health Section APTA. ~Member of VPTA and APTA, Women's Health Section. ~BCIA-PMDB Biofeedback- Pelvic Muscle Dysfunction Biofeedback. ~Certified Pilates instructor, ProHealth. ~Affiliate member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. ~Member of International Continence Society. ~Member of National Vulvodynia Association. ~Adjunct Clinical Faculty for student affiliation at multiple universities. ~Director of APTA Women's Health Residency since 2007, credentialed in 2008. (only other residency at Duke Unviersity)

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