Prenatal maternal care has long since reached a stage of standardization which has not been even approached in the postnatal care of the mother. Many physicians, accepting the responsibility of accoucheur, give elaborate care for the full period of gestation, only to discharge the patient with perhaps a single examination after her lying-in period. While the puerperium may be said to be completed at the end of from eight to twelve weeks after delivery, at which time the uterus should be wholly involuted, in essence the obligation of the physician is to reestablish his patient in the best possible mental and bodily function, though this may be a condition not attained until the second six months after labor.
The puerperium may then be divided into three periods: The first period is that which is strictly the lying-in period. While this time varies with different obstetricians from a few days to
PARKER M. POSTNATAL MATERNAL CARE. JAMA. 1927;89(25):2083-2085. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690250005002