11.4 Postpartum and post-abortion counselling
When you provide counselling for a postpartum mother, your goal is to help the woman decide if she wants to use a family planning method, and what the most appropriate method would be for her (see Box 11.2). You will need to take into consideration whether or not she is breastfeeding.
Ideally, you should have already provided counselling during prenatal care. However, it is also possible to provide family planning counselling and services following delivery.
Can you give counselling during labour?
You should not give counselling during labour. You can provide useful advice on family planning only after the mother has recovered from the immediate physical and emotional stress of childbirth.
Box 11.2 Issues for clients to consider before postpartum counselling
Before you provide postpartum counselling, encourage your clients to consider the following key issues:
- Whether they want more children, or whether they are happy with their current family size.
- If they want more children, how long would they like to wait before having another child?
- Their satisfaction, successes and failures with contraceptive methods used previously.
- Their plans regarding breastfeeding.
If a mother is interested in family planning, you should use your counselling skills to help her focus on which method, or combination of methods, may be most appropriate. She should be clear about the effects of family planning methods on breastfeeding, the correct use of methods, and the period before resumption of sexual relations following delivery.