Pregnancy & Postpartum

The Critical Importance of Postpartum Prenatal Education

written by Garazi Otegui Beldarrain, experienced midwife

Bringing a new life into the world is a unique and transformative experience. It is known
as the time of adaptation to parenthood, along with the time where bonding within the
family can develop.¹ While much emphasis is rightly placed on the prenatal period as well
as the birth, it is equally essential to focus on postpartum care.² Postpartum prenatal
education plays a pivotal role in ensuring the health and well-being of both the mother
and the newborn. In this article, we explore the significance of being informed about
postpartum prenatal care and why it should be an integral part of every expectant parent’s

Understanding Postpartum Prenatal Care

Postpartum care refers to the health care provided to the mother and the newborn after
childbirth. According to WHO’s definition, postnatal phase begins immediately after the
birth of the baby and extends for up to six weeks (roughly 42 days) after birth.³

Its duration is culturally variable, but the first one and a half months after childbirth is common cross-
culturally.¹ It encompasses physical, emotional, and psychological aspects that are
crucial for a smooth transition into parenthood. Unfortunately, the significance of
postpartum care is often underestimated, leading to potential complications that could
have been prevented with adequate knowledge and preparation.²
The postpartum period is marked by profound hormonal and physical changes in
woman’s body. These changes can contribute to mood swings, fatigue, and emotional
vulnerability, leading to postnatal depression. ⁴ Without proper antenatal preparation, the
lack of understanding and support for the physiological changes can exacerbate the
probability of developing this silent risk. This is where postpartum prenatal care serves
as a critical line of deference against postnatal depression.
That being said, where are the key aspects of postpartum that should be mentioned
during the antenatal care?

Physical Recovery and Well-Being

The physical toll of pregnancy and childbirth on a woman’s body is substantial.
Postpartum care focuses on ensuring the mother’s physical recovery, addressing issues
such as uterine healing, wound care, or/and perineal discomfort. Proper education
empowers mothers to recognize signs of complications, promoting early intervention and
preventing potential long-term health issues. ⁴

Indeed, understanding and learning about the physical changes of a new mother after
birth is foundational for a positive postpartum experience. Antenatal education serves as
a key driver in this understanding, offering expectant parents the knowledge and tools
needed to navigate the transformative journey of childbirth. By fostering open
communication and promoting comprehensive education by professional health providers,
we can together empower expectant women and their parents to approach the
postpartum period with confidence, resilience, and a sense of shared responsibility. ⁵
Postpartum depression and anxiety are prevalent yet often overlooked challenges that
many new mothers face. Prenatal education prepares expectant parents for the emotional
rollercoaster that can accompany this new period.⁶ Learning about the signs and
symptoms of postpartum mood disorders and knowing where to seek help are crucial
elements in promoting emotional and mental well-being.

Feeding Support

Whether you are thinking of breast or formula feeding your baby, preparing the arrival of
your little one is an exciting journey. Among the main key topics, learning about feeding
your baby after birth holds immense significance. Antenatal education on feeding
encompasses various aspects, from understanding the benefits of breastfeeding to
exploring alternative feeding options. This early learning equips expectant parents with
the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions about how they will nourish their newborn. It lays the foundation for a positive feeding experience, promoting the well-being and healthy development of the newborn and enhancing the overall journey into parenthood.7,8
New teaching methodologies such as digital platforms, play a crucial role nowadays in
making antenatal education accessible to everyone. In fact, recent studies have shown
that prenatal web-based breastfeeding education may contribute in improving
breastfeeding self-efficacy after birth.9,10

In other words, prenatal breastfeeding education increases parent’s knowledge of breastfeeding. And parents who are knowledgeable about breastfeeding and embrace a positive mindset towards the topic have the tendency to initiate breastfeeding and continue for a lengthened period.¹¹ Understanding proper latch techniques, recognizing signs of breastfeeding problems, and seeking timely support can significantly enhance the breastfeeding experience.
Antenatal education is inclusive, covering various feeding options. For parents
considering or needing to opt for formula feeding, learning about formula types,
preparation, and safe practices ensures a well-rounded understanding of infant
nutrition.¹² Prenatal learning about feeding your baby after birth not only prepares
expectant parents for the practicalities but also fosters a nurturing and informed approach
to the early stages of parenthood.⁹

Partner Involvement

Postpartum care isn’t exclusive to the birthing parent; partners play a vital role in providing
support and understanding. Prenatal education encourages partners to actively
participate in the postpartum journey, fostering a collaborative and supportive
environment at home. This involvement is crucial for the well-being of both parents and
the newborn. Research shows that increased partners involvement is associated with
improved maternal postnatal mental health.¹³ Such involvement is also directly correlated
with improved cognitive and socio-emotional development of the newborn.14,15

Studies have indicated that non birthing parents who feel unready for parenthood tend to be less
involved, find the transition to parenting more challenging and might exhibit reduced
commitment to fulfill the role of dedicated parents.¹⁶

Active involvement of parents promotes shared responsibility in parenting. This
collaborative approach ensures that both parents contribute to the physical and emotional
needs of the newborn, creating a supportive environment for the child’s growth. This
involvement creates a sense of unity and cohesion, fostering a supportive environment
for the health development of each family member. Moreover, newborns benefit from the
diverse interactions with both parents. This early emotional connection is crucial for the child’s emotional development and fosters a sense of security.¹⁷ On top of this, non-
birthing parent involvement has been linked to positive cognitive, social and emotional development in children, contributing to well-rounded and resilient individuals.¹⁸

In conclusion, postpartum prenatal education is an indispensable component of preparing
for parenthood. By gaining knowledge about the physical, emotional, and practical
aspects of postpartum care, expectant parents can navigate the challenges of the
postpartum period with confidence and resilience. Adequate preparation not only
contributes to the health and well-being of the mother and newborn but also fosters a
positive and supportive environment for the entire family. As we continue to prioritize
comprehensive prenatal care, let us recognize and embrace the importance of
postpartum prenatal education in shaping a healthy and fulfilling start to the journey of


  1. Finlayson, K., Crossland, N., Bonet, M., & Downe, S. (2020). What matters to
    women in the postnatal period: A meta-synthesis of qualitative studies. PLOS
    ONE, 15(4), e0231415.
  2. Sacks, E., & Langlois, É. V. (2016). Postnatal care: increasing coverage, equity,
    and quality. The Lancet Global Health, 4(7), e442–e443.
  4. Lopez-Gonzalez, D. M., & Kopparapu, A. K. (2022, December 11). Postpartum
    care of the new mother. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing.
  5. Baas, C. I., Erwich, J. J. H. M., Wiegers, T. A., de Cock, T. P., & Hutton, E. K.
    (2015). Women’s Suggestions for Improving Midwifery Care in The
    Netherlands. Birth, 42(4), 369–378.
  6. Youash, S., Campbell, K., Avison, W., Peneva, D., Sharma, V., & Xie, B. (2013).
    Influence of health information levels on postpartum depression. Archives of
    Women’s Mental Health, 16(6), 489–498.
  7. Wong, M. S., Mou, H., & Chien, W. T. (2021). Effectiveness of educational and
    supportive intervention for primiparous women on breastfeeding related outcomes and breastfeeding self-efficacy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 117, 103874.
  8. Kehinde, J., O’donnell, C., & Grealish, A. (2022). The Effectiveness of Prenatal
    Breastfeeding Education on Breastfeeding Uptake Postpartum: A Systematic
    Review. Midwifery, 118, 103579.
  9. Abuidhail, J., Mrayan, L., & Jaradat, D. (2019). Evaluating effects of prenatal
    web-based breastfeeding education for pregnant mothers in their third
    trimester of pregnancy: Prospective randomized control trial. Midwifery, 69,
  10. Pitts, A., Faucher, M. A., & Spencer, R. (2015). Incorporating Breastfeeding
    Education into Prenatal Care. Breastfeeding Medicine, 10(2), 118–123.
  11. Kehinde, J., O’donnell, C., & Grealish, A. (2022). The Effectiveness of Prenatal
    Breastfeeding Education on Breastfeeding Uptake Postpartum: A Systematic
    Review. Midwifery, 118, 103579.
  12. Kotowski, J., Fowler, C., Hourigan, C., & Orr, F. (2020). Bottle‐feeding an infant
    feeding modality: An integrative literature review. Maternal & Child
    Nutrition, 16(2).
  13. Zhang, Y., & Razza, R. (2022). Father involvement, couple relationship quality,
    and maternal Postpartum Depression: the role of ethnicity among low-income
    families. Maternal and Child Health Journal.
  14. Lu, M. C., Jones, L., Bond, M. J., Wright, K., Pumpuang, M., Maidenberg, M.,
    Jones, D., Garfield, C., & Rowley, D. L. (2010). Where is the F in MCH? Father
    involvement in African American families. Ethnicity & Disease, 20(1 Suppl 2),
  15. Ramchandani, P. G., Domoney, J., Sethna, V., Psychogiou, L., Vlachos, H., & Murray, L. (2012). Do early father-infant interactions predict the onset of externalising behaviours in young children? Findings from a longitudina cohort study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54(1), 56–64.
  16. Bäckström, C., & Hertfelt Wahn, E. (2011). Support during labour: first-time fathers’ descriptions of requested and received support during the birth of their child. Midwifery, 27(1), 67–73.
  17. Frosch, C. A., Schoppe-Sullivan, S. J., & O’Banion, D. D. (2019). Parenting and child development: A relational health perspective. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 15(1), 45–59.
  18. Redshaw, M., & Henderson, J. (2013). Fathers’ engagement in pregnancy and childbirth: evidence from a national survey. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 13(1).
Topics: Pregnancy & Postpartum

Garazi Otegui Beldarrain

More Posts by Garazi Otegui Beldarrain
× with us!