Postpartum & Newborn Health:
There’s breast pumps, and spit up, and diapers – oh my! While there are so many adjustments to life with Baby, the most important thing is YOUR and BABY’S health.
Your Postpartum Health Checkups
Your doctor needs to monitor you as you heal and if you don’t already have your postpartum checkup(s) scheduled, please call your doctor and get that on the calendar.
Your first postpartum checkup should be scheduled three weeks after giving birth and the second postpartum checkup should be scheduled before the twelve week mark after giving birth – both visits should be completed within three months of Baby’s birth and be in-person with your doctor. This handy Flyer on Postpartum Checkups will explain the checkups and what to expect.
Breastfeeding Support & More!
Breastfeeding Baby has so many health benefits for Baby’s growth and development. It’s also a great way for you to burn extra calories to help lose pregnancy weight and help your body heal! If you find you need some extra support and help getting the hang of breastfeeding, check out this list of breastfeeding resources!
With more states legalizing the use of recreational marijuana, it has been found that more women of childbearing age are using it, and byproducts can be found in breastmilk. “In the largest study to date, which included eight breastfeeding women, the amount of THC detected in pumped breast milk ranged from 0.4%-8.7% of the maternal dose, with an estimated mean of 2.5%. Using these data, the average absolute infant dose was estimated to be 8 micrograms per kilogram per day.” Read more about cannabis and breastmilk.
The Wyoming Public Health Division has even more resources on their webpage that you might find helpful, including: newborn screening, financial support for high-risk care if you have to travel out of Wyoming to see your doctor, and newborn intensive care resources, and more!
If you have local friends and family, it’s nice when they can share meals or bring over food after you come home from the hospital with Baby – let them help you if they can! Let your friends and family mother YOU a little – if they ask you how you are – be honest – so they can help you with things you may need, share their perspective, or cheer you on!
You are Your own Best Advocate
As your body is healing, if you don’t feel “right” or “good” – speak up! If you’re in more pain than you were prepared for or bleeding more than you thought you would – speak up! You know your body better than anyone else and if something doesn’t feel right, get a hold of your doctor ASAP! If it’s after-hours, the nurses at the 24/7 nurseline can help you talk through what is going on and advise you on what to do next. Please call toll-free 888-545-1710 (TTY: 711) to speak to a nurse.
Newborn Health Checkups
The doctor will want to also monitor Baby through regular checkups. The first checkup will likely happen within a week of birth and the doctor will ask questions about the first few days at home with Baby. Ongoing, these checkups will cover physical exams, immunizations, and tracking Baby’s growth and development – exciting! There is more information on what the doctor will cover during Baby’s checkups and how often these visits will be scheduled.
- Place Baby on their back for every sleep (not front)
- Use a firm sleep surface
- Breastfeeding is recommended
- Room-sharing with the infant on a separate sleep surface is recommended
- Keep soft objects and loose bedding away from the infant’s sleep area
- Consider offering a pacifier at naptime and bedtime
- Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth
- Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth
- Avoid overheating
- Pregnant women should obtain regular prenatal care
- Infants should be immunized in accordance with AAP and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations
- Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS
FREE - Wyoming Hand in Hand Program
Wyoming Hand in Hand is sponsored through the Public Health Division as a home visitation program where a nurse comes to your home and visits with you about your pregnancy and then after delivery – how things are going after bringing Baby home. The nurse will support you and your family through Baby’s 2nd birthday! The goal of the program is to help Wyoming families raise healthy babies in a healthy home!
The nurse will help you with understanding Baby to promote bonding and attachment and work through healthy topics like: nutrition, social support, and physical activity for you and Baby. The program can help you develop a budget, support you to solve problems that come up in your life, screen you for postpartum depression, and intimate partner harm in order to connect you with additional support and resources that you may need.
You can visit the Wyoming Hand in Hand website for more information. Or, if you know you’re ready to be a part of the FREE program, please complete the referral questions, and Wyoming Hand in Hand will reach out to you!
You are needed.
You are loved.
How are YOU feeling? There are new demands and challenges with being a new parent. This can be a time of great joy for you and your loved ones but the new responsibilities can make some new parents feel anxious or depressed. Feelings can be overwhelming and if you’re not sure how you feel – and that’s ok – I invite you to answer some questions real quick to help you with what to do in case you’re feeling blue.
Resources for You & Baby to be Healthy & Thrive:
When you’re healthy, it’s easier for baby to be healthy and thrive! There is even more support and resources out there to help keep you and baby healthy – that you might not even be aware of!
Call Medicaid's 24/7 Nurseline!
If you or baby gets sick you might wonder about whether to go to the emergency room, a walk-in clinic, or wait and schedule an appointment with your doctor – don’t worry! Our 24/7 Nurse Line will help you in these situations. Please call toll-free 888-545-1710 (TTY: 711) to speak to a nurse. Nurses can answer questions you have, give you information to help you make health decisions for you and Baby, and help you understand any medications you’re taking.
Ongoing Health Condition Support
If you feel you would benefit from talking to a nurse regularly about any ongoing health conditions or Baby’s health conditions, please contact our WYhealth Care Management Program.
Smoking is harmful to moms and babies. Quitting is super hard and the Wyoming Quit Tobacco Program is ready to help you! Call them right now @ 800-QUIT-NOW. They can help you develop a personalized quit plan; provide free gum, patches, and more; quit coaches; and 24/7 support and tools. Those who use with the Wyoming Quit Tobacco Program are 3 times more likely to quit.
Services & Support Resources:
We want to inform you of programs that are available to you and have listed some resources below. There are many programs out there trying to help and want you to reach out to see if you’re eligible. A great way to check out even more resources is to visit the Wyoming 2-1-1 website.
The Wyoming Department of Family Services has a few food assistance programs that might be helpful for you:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides monthly benefits that help low-income households buy food needed for good health;
- The Cent$ible Nutrition Program offers free cooking and nutrition education classes for both children and adults throughout Wyoming; and,
- The Emergency Food and Commodity Assistance is a partnership with Food Bank of the Rockies to provide emergency food commodity assistance.
The Wyoming Department of Health, Public Health Division oversees the Women, Infant, and Children Program (WIC) that can assist with healthy food, nutrition education, and breastfeeding guidance.
Housing, Utilities, & Energy Assistance
The Wyoming Department of Family Services has several housing, utilities, and energy assistance programs that might be helpful for you. The following links will guide you to more information as well as how to apply for these benefits:
- The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) program is available to renters struggling to make rent and utility payments due to COVID-19;
- The Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF) is being created to help provide assistance with mortgage and utility cost relief;
- The Low Income Energy Assistance (LIEAP) program helps pay part of winter home heating bills November through May;
- The Weatherization Assistance Program helps households save money on home heating costs by improving their energy efficiency;
- The Wyoming Homeless Services Program partners with the Wyoming Homeless Collaborative to assist individuals (including unaccompanied youth) and families experiencing homelessness; and,
- The Telephone Assistance (Lifeline) which is a federal discount program that lowers the monthly cost of phone or internet service.
Cash Assistance Program
The Wyoming Department of Family Services has a cash assistance program that might be helpful for you. The following link will guide you to more information as well as how to apply:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provides temporary cash assistance for families in need. There are two forms of TANF but the POWER Work Program to help individuals find employment or other forms of financial stability based specifically on YOUR needs and also provides free Child Support assistance.
Receive Help Paying for Child Care
The Wyoming Department of Family Services has a child care assistance program that might be helpful for you. There is Child Care Financial Assistance in Wyoming that can provide assistance to pay for the cost of child care when the parent(s) are working or in school or training. The parent(s)’s income is taken into consideration and the parent(s) may be responsible for paying for part of the cost of care.
Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Resources:
The clinical health community has come to realize that your life experiences play a huge role in your individual mental health and the decisions you make. Negative experiences can cause depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions which can go on to manifest in the physical body causing health conditions. Since there is a connection between mental health and physical health, it is important to address mental health – not only for yourself, but also because your mood and choices can also affect Baby.
Are you thinking of hurting yourself?
If the answer to that question is anything other than “no” – we need to get you connected with help right now. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 800-273-8255 (English) or 800-628-9454 (Spanish) or you can even chat with someone if you’re more comfortable.
Please bring up these feelings with your doctor, counselor, or OB/GYN too – they will help you! Sometimes we spin around in our heads and forget that there are people who love us, who need us, and who we matter to that would drop what they are doing in an instant if they knew we needed to talk.
Maternal Mental Health Hotline
Substance Use Disorder
Using substances like drugs and alcohol can hurt your ability to care for your baby, affect your ability to be the best version of yourself, and can cause physical health problems as well as hurt your ability to meet your responsibilities at work, school, and home. Individuals will often keep using drugs and alcohol even if it’s causing problems in their life – in the short term, these substances make us feel good or cover pain, but hurt us big time in the long run.
A substance use treatment provider is a professional trained to help those using drugs and alcohol and can also help treat root causes of substance use. There are Community Substance Use Treatment Providers available to you, regardless of your ability to pay. These are the professionals who can help you to end dependence on drugs and alcohol.
The ebb and flow of life can feel different to different people – causing some to feel distress or that something “just isn’t right.” It’s important to seek help when you start to feel this way. There seems to be a perception that we can “pull ourselves up by the bootstraps” – but that approach doesn’t work for everyone all the time. We all walk a different path and it’s necessary to seek the help of a professional who can work with you through your feelings. There are Community Mental Health Services available to you, regardless of your ability to pay. These are the professionals who can help you through postpartum depression, anxiety, and more!
Health & Plan Coverage Resources:
Health insurance coverage is important! Due to the Public Health Emergency, those eligible for Medicaid have not been dropped from coverage. When the public health emergency ends those on Medicaid may transition off of current Medicaid health coverage unless the individual qualifies for other Medicaid coverage and benefits. Newborns always have Medicaid coverage through their first birthday. If you have any questions about your Medicaid coverage please visit the Wyoming Medicaid Member Website or log into the myHealthPortal.
In case you may need other coverage, we’d like you to be aware of these other health and coverage resources:
Join Your Partner's Health Plan
If you no longer qualify for a full-benefit Medicaid health plan and you now have the option to join your partner’s health plan – please get yourself and Baby added as new dependents. Rules vary for doing this in a timely manner – the sooner the better – so make sure to contact the Human Resources department at your partner’s workplace to get this started.
Coverage Through the Health Insurance Marketplace
If you don’t qualify for a full-benefit Medicaid health plan, an alternative you need to explore is coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace will ask you questions about your income and determine what you could be expected to pay for the plan you select. Since you had a baby, this qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period – just make sure you apply for Marketplace coverage within 60 days of Baby’s birth to be eligible for the Special Enrollment Period or you will have to wait until open enrollment, which typically runs November 1 through January 15.
Pregnant by Choice
As another benefit, the Pregnant by Choice Program offers birth control and reproductive support services to women losing full Medicaid benefits under the Pregnant Women Program. It covers certain services and prescriptions that includes: birth control (including Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs)), annual pap smears, sexually transmitted disease testing, and more! To apply for the Pregnant by Choice Program, please call 1-855-294-2127.
Postpartum Depression – You are not alone:
I want to leave you with some quotes from new parents who had postpartum depression – and make sure that if you do feel this way, you aren’t alone. Click through the slider to read through them all.
Diana, Princess of Wales
“It had been quite a difficult pregnancy — I hadn’t been very well throughout it — so by the time William arrived it was a great relief because it was all peaceful again, and I was well for a time. Then I was unwell with postnatal depression, which no one ever discusses, postnatal depression, you have to read about it afterwards, and that in itself was a bit of a difficult time. You’d wake up in the morning feeling you didn’t want to get out of bed, you felt misunderstood and just very, very low in yourself. … I received a great deal of treatment, but I knew in myself that actually what I needed was space and time to adapt to all the different roles that had come my way. I knew I could do it, but I needed people to be patient and give me the space to do it.” — BBC1, November 1995
“Honestly, sometimes I still think I have to deal with [postpartum depression]. I think people need to talk about it more because it’s almost like the fourth trimester, it’s part of the pregnancy. I remember one day, I couldn’t find Olympia’s bottle and I got so upset I started crying… because I wanted to be perfect for her.” — Harper’s Bazaar UK, May 2018
“I didn’t have postpartum [depression] the first time, so I didn’t understand it because I was like, ‘I feel great!’ The second time, I was like, ‘Oh, whoa, I see what people talk about now. I understand.’ It’s a different type of overwhelming with the second. I really got under the cloud.” — People
“As a kid, I had a lot of undiagnosed anxiety and obsessive-compulsive issues, but I grew up in a household that stigmatized mental illness. I thought that admitting I needed help showed weakness. But I learned from experience that becoming a mom can definitely take a toll on your well-being, especially during the postpartum period. In my case, I started having dark thoughts, obsessing about the dangers of the world and the vulnerability of my own children. All this was compounded by the severe sleep deprivation from having two babies just 16 months apart. It was excruciating and got better only once I became open to therapy.” — Parents Latina, March 2021
“For me I would just wake up and feel like I was covered in tar and it wasn’t the first time I’d experienced depression so I just thought Oh, well, this feels familiar, I’m depressed, I think. And then simultaneously, my personal history of depression where it was so normalized for me to be in the quicksand, as I call it, or in the tar. It does feel like tar, like everything feels heavy. … [With my second child, I waited to get help for] four months. I know! And now this time I’m going to wait four minutes. I have said to my friends, I want you to not necessarily go by the words I’m saying and as best as I can, I’ll try to be honest, but I can’t personally rely on the degree of honesty if I reference the last two experiences.” — Self, June 2019
“I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me. … My knowledge of postpartum — or postnatal, as we call it in England — is that you don’t want to be with your child; you’re worried you might hurt your child; you’re worried you weren’t doing a good job. But I was obsessed with my child. I felt very inadequate; I felt like I’d made the worst decision of my life. … It can come in many different forms.” — Vanity Fair, October 2016
“When I knew that I had postpartum [depression]… I didn’t want to admit it. It was that shame. … I told my sister about it. I told my husband about it, and I told my friends about it. They became my support system. So when I was sad or going through my emotions, I would talk about it. I didn’t suppress them. I think that helped.” — Romper, November 2019
“After having my first daughter Delilah, I had severe postpartum depression. I kept it secret. I didn’t say a word to anybody in the world. [My husband] thought I was just nuts. He had no idea what was going on and I was so hopeless and felt so lost, that when I finally, 10 months later, opened up to him and told him how worthless I felt … Opening up [about] something that I felt so much shame about was the most valuable thing that I could have done. … I suffered silently and I don’t want any woman to ever have to do that again. You have to talk about it.” — HLN, December 2012
“It takes you a while [to know you have PPD] and you feel off, you don’t feel like yourself. But, you know, women are so resilient and that’s the incredible thing about them. And I think I’m all the stronger for it. I think I’m a better mom because of it, because you never take that connection for granted.” — Good Morning America, January 2017
“I was postnatally depressed but I didn’t know it. I saw a doctor for the medical check, and I just burst into tears. She said I was postnatally depressed and I went, ‘Am I? Why is that?’ I saw a great guy and he sorted me out, but I did the first year on “Game of Thrones” in that space, figuring out motherhood and going through a weird time personally. It was tricky.” — Porter, July 2017
This page was last updated on November 3, 2022.