The ultimate welfare of mothers cannot be secured by good care during pregnancy and labor alone. Postpartum oversight is quite as important. The objects of motherhood are not attained by bringing a healthy baby to a living mother; they are completed only when that mother is restored to perfect health. Postpartum care must continue until that end is accomplished, whether it takes two weeks, two months or two years. Thus only can invalidism be avoided. The puerperium is too generally considered at an end with the termination of the lying-in period. It should be thought of as consisting of three periods:
1. The Immediate Puerperium.
—This is the lying-in period, ending when involution has progressed far enough to enable the patient to be up and about. Every patient should be told that it takes an additional four or six weeks for her pelvic organs to return to normal. She will
LITZENBERG JC. PREVENTABLE INVALIDISM FOLLOWING CHILDBIRTH. JAMA. 1932;99(21):1740-1742. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02740730004002