In some cultures, there are lots of customs about a woman who has recently given birth to a baby, such as feeding special fancy meals to her, taking special care of her, and so on for (a certain number of days, e.g. 40 days from baby's birth) and of course there's a well-known word that explains this.

I couldn't find anything in the dictionary and thesaurus and based on my search keywords. Does it exist in English?

P.S.: The term new mother is quite general that won't refer to this certain period just after birth.

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    The period is called the "postpartum" period. But that is the period, not the woman. You asked for "word ... for a woman who.."
    – TimR
    Dec 2, 2014 at 21:18
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    False assumption. New mother = woman who has recently given birth (for the first time). At least in American English.
    – TimR
    Dec 2, 2014 at 21:20
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    Also, are you looking for a medical term or a layman's term?
    – TimR
    Dec 2, 2014 at 21:22
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    The term postpartum woman would be widely understood and fits, but for the single-word-requests limitation. Not every concept can, or should, be described with a single word. Dec 2, 2014 at 21:26
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    I don't think there is any such word. There is no English-speaking culture I'm aware of in which it would be needed - for example, there is no "meal which is usually made" for a newborn's mother. Well, unless you count "anything she wants". :-) Dec 3, 2014 at 3:09

6 Answers 6


Puerperal - Relating to, connected with, or occurring during childbirth or the period immediately following childbirth. FED

Puerperium - the period between childbirth and the return of the uterus to its normal size - Merriam-Webster - "A woman in the early puerperium".

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    Puerperal shows up most often in the phrase "puerperal fever", a formerly common fatal infection. Dec 2, 2014 at 21:31
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    just a note that i doubt many people know this word. you may not care.
    – user428517
    Dec 2, 2014 at 23:55
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    Post-partum mental confusion could be called Puerperal Haze. Dec 3, 2014 at 0:09
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    And if it rains directly after a woman gives birth, this is called a Puerperal Rain. .......(I regret nothing.)
    – BrianH
    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:03
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    @BrianDHall: THWACK. (You know you had it coming.)
    – Marthaª
    Dec 3, 2014 at 16:01

The woman is often referred to as "a new mother".

P.S. I would be reluctant to advise that she be called a "postpartum mother" or a "postpartum woman" because there are bound to be readers who would take that phrase to mean "a woman with postpartum depression". Sometimes writing is much like defensive driving.

The New Mother - Taking Care of Yourself After Birth

  • I'd suggest you editing your answer and adding postpartum and maybe some more detail so that it looks better. (:
    – Neeku
    Dec 2, 2014 at 21:28
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    If you edit your question and its title, then I'd be happy to add postpartum to the answer. But as I said, it's not a term for the woman, but for the period she's entered.
    – TimR
    Dec 2, 2014 at 21:53
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    @Neeku An answer does not have to be long to be correct. If you want to talk about cultural aspects of the time right after birth (as opposed to medical aspects), new mother is the acceptable term, at least in North America. (New mom could be used in informal situations, but I would not say it is more common.) Postpartum and especially perperal are restricted to medical contexts. One limitation: some people might interpret "new mother" as only applying after the first child, and not after subsequent births.
    – AmeliaBR
    Dec 2, 2014 at 22:21
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    Even if a mother could not be said to be a "new mother", she would still be made mother anew. The bonding with the child is individualized; as is filiation and other deeply rooted cultural and normative considerations.
    – user98955
    Dec 3, 2014 at 2:56
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    But we're talking idiomatic use here. Each birth may be a unique experience, and her mothering may change, but motherhood itself is for a woman new only once.
    – TimR
    Dec 3, 2014 at 11:13

The term postpartum woman would be widely understood and fits, but for the single-word-requests limitation. Not every concept can, or should, be described with a single word.

Postpartum is widely understood, in part, because of the recognition of the phenomenon of postpartum depression and popular coverage of PPD in the media.

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    "Postnatal" also has the same meaning (e.g. postnatal depression on Wikipedia redirects to postpartum). "Postnatal" is common in UK English but "postpartum" is more common in US English. Dec 3, 2014 at 11:13
  • (US) It seems to me like if we use "postnatal" to refer to a person at all, it's more likely the child than the mother.
    – cHao
    Dec 3, 2014 at 14:51
  • @user568458 You may be correct, but it seems postnatal should mean toddler. When I was born, being premature, I was rushed to a local neonatal facility, implying not only was I natal, but I was in the early stages of nativity, not anything close to postnatal. I could see something like postfetal, since I'm no longer a fetus once I'm out of the womb, though.
    – corsiKa
    Dec 3, 2014 at 16:17

Post-gravid is an alternative to Puerperal that may be more easily comprehended (ymmv):

Used in a research paper, and nih.gov


In American culture, I have not heard of a single word that would describe a woman who just gave birth. The phrases I have heard in spoken English has been:

  • Jane, who is recovering from childbirth.

  • Jane, who is recovering from the delivery of her son.

  • Jane, who just had a baby.

All of these expressions I have heard after a woman has had a first baby or subsequent baby.

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    But these are instances immediately following the birth of a baby. If a new baby is often called newborn what about its mother?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 4, 2014 at 18:18

Different customs have different words for a woman who just gave birth. Here are a few 1.The New Mother 2.Baby Mother 3.Baby Mama

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    "Baby Mama", particularly in the U.S., has a very different meaning -- the mother of your child, when you are no longer in a direct relationship with that woman.
    – AmeliaBR
    Dec 2, 2014 at 22:16
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    At least in the U.S., #2 and #3 are definitely incorrect. They would imply more along the line of what Amelia said. I have heard the terms jokingly used in reference a current wife, but both terms imply that the speaker is the father and neither term implies that the delivery was particularly recent.
    – reirab
    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:29
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    "Baby Mama" and "Baby Daddy" (in the U.S.) means the parent of your child to whom you are not married, nor were ever married to. I have heard it being used by a unmarried father to refer to his current girlfriend (who was also the mother of his child). If the parents are divorced, then typically they would say "ex-wife" or "former wife" Dec 5, 2014 at 16:39

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