If popular advice were to be believed, new mothers should be expected to be back to their normal lives and routines within a few weeks after giving birth – even if they’re a little exhausted. In reality, though, pregnancy and labor can ravage the body and those who study this process suggest it can actually take months for certain issues to resolve. Mental health challenges like postpartum depression and anxiety can further complicate this time period.

If you’re pregnant or have recently entered the postpartum period, you may not feel prepared to assess and take advantage of the different resources available to you through your insurance provider, but they can make a difference. These 4 services can be especially beneficial.

Pelvic Floor PT

The pelvic floor gets a fair bit of attention before you give birth, but after delivery many women find that they have pain, urinary leakage, and other complaints. Others can experience organ prolapse due to the stress labor and delivery can put on these muscles. 

Luckily, there’s been a growing awareness of pelvic floor health issues and a move to help women address these issues through pelvic floor PT. Even some simple exercises can help strengthen this area and promote healing. 

Lactation Consultant

Are you planning to breastfeed? Even if you’re not sure, you should consider meeting with a location consultant. A lactation consultant can help you explore your options, overcome challenges around breastfeeding, like issues with latch or milk production, and help you work with your insurance to get a breast pump. 

Most importantly, you shouldn’t wait until you’re already trying to breastfeed and struggling to contact a lactation consultant; instead, contact one before birth and begin creating a plan together.

Mental Health Care

Receiving appropriate mental health care is obviously one of the many important reasons to have health insurance coverage. And for those who have never had mental health problems, though, the postpartum period can be a uniquely vulnerable one. 

Among women who have recently given birth, it’s not uncommon to see cases of perinatal depression, as well as anxiety, OCD, and even psychosis. These can range in severity, but for many women, these conditions can make it hard to care for their children or themselves. Appropriate pharmaceutical treatment, talk therapy, and other interventions can help mitigate these issues and help you feel more like yourself.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Given how much energy goes into supporting a developing fetus, as well as to breastfeeding after birth, it’s quite common for women to experience certain nutritional deficiencies. That’s why it’s worth contacting your doctor to check your nutrient levels and determine which vitamins you might benefit from taking. 

Many women find that they are iron deficient after pregnancy, especially if they’ve experienced any degree of hemorrhaging, but supplements can also help with common postnatal issues like hair loss, which tends to be a cyclical change and will resolve over time.

While every insurance plan is different and coverage varies, there are typically more resources available to you than you realize – but you’ll have to ask to find out. Advocating for yourself can be hard, but as a new parent, you’re not just advocating for yourself, but for your child as well, and that can help you reach out for support.