Once the baby arrives, all the anxieties of the past year have now been replaced by joy and wonderment for this tiny human! Parenting truly is a journey that needs to be experienced to be understood. Parenthood brings with it dramatic changes, physically, emotionally as well as in terms of your lifestyle. You and your partner have come a long way since the day you saw those two lines on the home pregnancy kit.
Now, it’s time for recovery. And it may not always be a smooth ride. Considering what the mom’s body has endured during and after delivery, it is vulnerable to a host of problems. But, knowledge is power and it can help both of you stay safe and healthy! So, let’s understand some of the most common problems a new mom is likely to experience during postpartum.
Uterine infections can happen if pieces of placenta remain in the uterus. Symptoms of this can be high-fever, rapid heart rate, high white-blood cell count, swollen uterus, and a foul-smelling discharge. The infection can be treated with antibiotics, generally intravenous.
Your doctor will give you guidelines about caring for your C-section incision. You should follow these sincerely. Signs of an infection could be red, swollen skin or draining pus. Consult your doctor if you see such signs on or around the incision. Resist the urge to scratch.
It is common for women to feel pain in the perineum, the region between the vagina and rectum. The tissues in the area get stretched during the process of delivery, and might even get bruised or torn. In some cases, doctors might make a small incision to ease the delivery. The perineum, thus, pains for a few days after delivery.
In case of a bruise, tear, or incision, follow the doctor’s advice and take proper care. The pain will lessen as your body heals from the delivery over time. Applying cold packs or warm water with the help of a sponge or a bottle will help reduce the discomfort. If you feel discomfort while sitting, you can buy a doughnut shaped pillow which is easily available in the market and use it around the house or office to sit on. You can also use a pain-killer, though make sure you get one prescribed by your physician or gynaecologist if you’re breastfeeding.
This isn’t a problem as such, but just a symptom of childbirth. A discharge of a mixture of blood and placenta is common in the days following the delivery. It will be heavy, thick and frequent in the initial days, but will reduce as days progress. The discharge might make a return later after activities like breastfeeding or heavy exercising. Maternity pads will prove to be extremely helpful during this time.
Your breasts will become hard, sore and swollen, since your body is producing more milk. It will reduce once you develop a regular breastfeeding pattern. You can further ease it by wearing well-supporting bras or applying ice packs. You can also relieve some of the pressure on your breasts by manually expressing milk with your fingers or with the help of a breast pump.
If you are not breastfeeding, the swelling and discomfort will ease once the milk production stops, which takes about three days if the baby is not suckling. In this case, you should avoid taking hot showers or expressing milk manually since it will confuse your body into producing more milk.
Majority of women develop stretch marks on the breasts, thighs, hips and abdomen. These marks will considerably reduce in intensity over time, but may not disappear completely. Many women use creams and lotions, but there is little to no evidence of its effectiveness. Don’t stress about it. It’s a mark of the remarkable transformation your body has undergone. Just focus on recovering well. Over time with exercise, the visibility of the stretch marks may be further reduced.
Urinary incontinence is a common occurrence among women during and . Unintentional passing of urine while laughing, coughing or straining is caused by the stretching of the base of the bladder. The muscles will return to their normal function over time. It is advisable to wear protective undergarment or maternity napkins till this problem persists. Some exercises like Kegel exercises or the ones advised by your doctor might help you recover from this sooner.
If you feel a burning sensation or pain while urinating, or if you think that a problem has lasted longer than it should have, consult your doctor who will prescribe medication and the best course of action for you. Your health is of utmost priority, so do not hesitate to call up your doctor to rest your fears!
Is there any aspect of the postpartum phase you’d like to shed light on? Do let us know in the comments.