In this article we will address the physical changes that are normal after giving birth.
Lochia is the bleeding and discharge that occurs after having a baby . It consists of superficial mucous membranes that line your uterus during pregnancy. The amount and duration is the same in both vaginal or caesarean delivery. Bleeding may be heavy the first few days and contain fresh blood that is a bright red color. The amount of bleeding should not increase; it can bleed as much or even lessen. If you do experience an increase in bleeding, contact your healthcare provider.
After just a few days, the lochia will become more brownish in color, then yellowish and then pale. The lochia discharge typically continues for six to eight weeks after childbirth. It takes about the same amount of time for the uterus to return to its normal size.
As long as you have lochia discharge (and fresh blood in the lochia), you should be careful with things that may cause infections such as swimming, bathing, tampons and sexual intercourse. It is perfectly safe to shower and use sanitary pads.
The first weeks after childbirth you may experience painful contractions. These are called postpartum uterine contractions and are caused by the uterine contracting to return to its normal size. Postpartum uterine contractions are uncommon in first-time mothers but can become more severe after the second and third baby. It is very normal if you do not experience this condition after your first baby and yet need pain relievers. These contractions can typically be felt while breastfeeding. Physical activity, such as going for walks, can cause the lochia discharge to become heavier again. All of this is perfectly normal Signs of infection include developing a high fever, a constant lower abdominal pain, heavy vaginal bleeding or a foul-smelling lochia discharge. Contact your healthcare provider or hospital for further evaluation and possible treatment.
When the mature breast milk comes in between the second and fifth day after giving birth, the breasts are overfilled and swollen with milk. This swelling is called breast engorgement. Engorgement is natural, but at certain levels it becomes a problem and can even lead to breast infection. Your breasts will become larger, heavier, and tender as they begin producing greater quantities of milk.
You can try to reduce the hardness in your breasts by massaging them, taking a warm shower, or applying a warm compress to your breasts before feeding. If that doesn't work, don't keep trying. The warmth may increase the swelling instead and prevent the milk from flowing. Once you get some milk out, the engorgement should go away. Then your baby will be able to latch and transfer the rest of the milk, emptying the breast. To keep it from coming back, breastfeed or pump frequently or as close to ev…
Vaginal tears can be painful and unpleasant but most will heal with rest and a combination of home remedies .The vagina has an excellent capacity to heal. Getting up and moving around helps the healing process by increasing blood flow circulation. Here is few tips:
- Shower and change pads frequently to best prevent infections.
- Use a peri-bottle (a squirt bottle) to wash yourself clean after using the bathroom.
- Gently pat yourself dry with toilet paper instead of wiping.
- Avoid constipation by drinking plenty of water and using a stool softener Most stitches are sewn using absorbable material and dissolve on their own in 4- 6 weeks. How long the stitches remain in place depends on the type of material used, but you can feel confident that they will remain in place for longer than it takes for the wound to heal.
Bladder and bowel
Voiding a significant amount of urine after childbirth is perfectly normal. Your body is getting rid of the excess fluid it accumulated during pregnancy. If you feel a burning sensation when you urinate, it is usually due to small tears or stretching in the tissue surrounding the urethra. It may feel better to urinate while showering. Immediately after childbirth, make sure that you urinate regularly. It is important that you empty your bladder completely to reduce bleeding. If you experience pain or burning, or have an uncomfortable urgency to urinate, tell your healthcare provider . This could be a sign of a bladder infection.
Don't wait to go to the bathroom when you feel the urge to move your bowels, even though it might be uncomfortable the first few times. Waiting makes your stool drier and harder to pass. Drink plenty of fluids and eat a diet rich in fiber to avoid constipation. Hemorrhoids Are swollen veins located either inside or outside of your rectum and anus. Sometimes, the walls of these blood vessels stretch so thin that the veins bulge and get irritated, especially during pregnancy and childbirth. They can be very painful and even bleed at times. Over-the-counter ointments and sprays usually can help reduce the swelling of hemorrhoids. Warm sitz baths followed by a cold compress also can offer some relief. An inflatable, donut-shaped pillow, which can be purchased at any drugstore, can help ease discomfort caused by sitting. Speak with your healthcare provider if none of these measures are helpful.
Regular menstrual bleeding typically resumes after you have finished breastfeeding or cut back. This varies greatly depending on whether you breastfeed completely or partially. However, it is important to protect against unwanted pregnancies because you do not know when your first ovulation takes place after childbirth.
Mood swings, sweating and hot flashes are common symptoms caused by major hormone fluctuations after childbirth. You may also notice some hair loss immediately after childbirth due to hormonal changes during your pregnancy.
Libido and sexual activity
It varies from person to person when a person’s libido returns. Talk with your partner and give each other time. Most women can resume sexual activity within 6 weeks after childbirth. You may find sex to be physically uncomfortable, even painful, for up to three months after delivery, particularly if you are breast-feeding. Because breast-feeding reduces levels of the hormone estrogen in the body, your vagina may be unusually dry during the postpartum period. A water-based lubricant can help relieve some of the discomfort. Tenderness at the location of an episiotomy also is not uncommon for weeks or months after giving birth. You may need to use a lubricant during intercourse since breastfeeding hormones may cause vaginal dryness. To avoid an unwanted pregnancy, it is best to use a condom during sexual intercourse.
A postpartum checkup is a medical checkup you get after having a baby to make sure you’re recovering well from labor and birth both physically and emotionally. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider , ideally four to six weeks after your delivery. During your appointment, your care provider will ascertain that your uterus has returned to its normal size, that any tears have healed and that you can return back to normal activities. They will also discuss contraception options.
Exercise is good for you, but listen to your body and don't overdo it for the first few months after giving birth. Most moms can return to exercising within six to eight weeks after childbirth. Start exercising gradually and gently. Avoid exercises that cause doming of your stomach. This may force the gap in the abdominal muscles further apart. Exercises that cause doming can include sit-ups, planks, heavy lifting and straight-leg raises. Walking is a good form of exercise the first few days. Your pelvic floor muscles have stretched during pregnancy and childbirth as well. You can begin strengthening them by doing pelvic floor exercises known as kegel. A strong pelvic floor prevents urine leakage and vaginal prolapse.
The information above has been provided by Danderyd Hospital in Sweden