55th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2022


Kristina Ortez and Natalie Figueroa









     WHEREAS, the current practice in health care is to provide focused care during pregnancy and birth, with weekly checkups in the final weeks of gestation; and

     WHEREAS, a new mother is often afforded a single follow-up visit six weeks after her baby is born; and

     WHEREAS, healthy development during the first few years of the life of a child is a crucial factor in creating positive outcomes for the rest of the child's life; and

     WHEREAS, the well-being of a mother and an infant are intimately connected; and

     WHEREAS, rather than treating a mother and an infant separately, mother and infant care should be understood as mutually beneficial, with the needs of the one considered in the context of the needs of the other; and

     WHEREAS, a mother undergoes a period of substantial transformation and adaptation through the first three months of motherhood, simultaneously experiencing physical, hormonal and psychosocial changes as well as shifting roles and responsibilities; and

     WHEREAS, this period of transition should be recognized as the "fourth trimester", which is a time during which mothers are deserving of care in their own right; and

     WHEREAS, mothers may suffer a number of physical health issues during the fourth trimester that far too often go undiagnosed and therefore untreated; and

     WHEREAS, some of the health issues mothers have reported experiencing include: breastfeeding problems, infections,

physical exhaustion, sleep loss, depression and stress, anxiety and rage, loneliness, frequent headaches, heavy bleeding, backache, weight control, pelvic and coccyx pain, urinary and fecal incontinence, diastasis recti, pelvic organ prolapse, scar tissue pain from Cesarean section, episiotomy or natural tearing, hemorrhoids, pubic symphysis separation and painful intercourse; and

     WHEREAS, physical health issues resulting from childbirth can also affect the mental health of new mothers; and

     WHEREAS, mental health issues that new mothers face impact their ability to care and nurture their babies, return to the workforce and engage in their work once they return; and

     WHEREAS, according to the federal centers for disease control and prevention, one in nine mothers in the United States experience symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety; and

     WHEREAS, major medical organizations recommend six months of exclusive breastfeeding, recognizing that breastfeeding is associated with positive health outcomes for a mother and her infant; and

     WHEREAS, only twenty-one percent of mothers achieve the recommended six months of exclusive breastfeeding; and

     WHEREAS, the failure to achieve six months of breastfeeding results, in part, from social constraints such as unpaid maternity leave, negative attitudes toward breastfeeding in public and a lack of workplace accommodations for breastfeeding mothers; and

     WHEREAS, twenty-three percent of employed mothers return to work within ten days postpartum despite evidence that suggests that postpartum tissue damage requires six weeks for recovery; and

     WHEREAS, these compounding physical and mental health issues make it even more difficult for employed, postpartum mothers to fulfill the roles and responsibilities required in the course of their employment; and

     WHEREAS, for the sake of the health and well-being of both mother and infant, a mother should receive the mental, physical, social and economic support she needs to successfully transition through this all-important, consequential fourth trimester period; and

     WHEREAS, physical therapists can assist mothers through postpartum recovery during the fourth trimester period;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the governor be requested to declare September 23, 2022 "Fourth Trimester Care Day" in New Mexico; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a membership organization that represents physical therapists be invited to present to the legislative health and human services committee before December 2, 2022; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the governor, members of the legislative health and human services committee and members of the American physical therapy association New Mexico.

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