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Postpartum care.

Family physicians have a unique role in helping new mothers and their families manage the changes that occur during the postpartum period. Postdelivery hospital stays are becoming shorter, so anticipation of concerns that may arise is crucial. Instruction about care of the perineum and breasts, the possibility of postpartum depression, resumption of sexual intercourse, contraception, diet and exercise is appropriate in the postpartum period. The mother may also benefit from discussions about how to obtain practical support at home. Potential biomedical problems that may arise during this period include mastitis, late uterine hemorrhage, late endometritis, thyroiditis and incontinence. A list of practical questions to ask the mother can help the physician identify any issues or problems that need attention.

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