Pregnancy to postpartum is a long and eventful journey with a whole lot of ups and downs as well as emotional upheavals which culminate in a beautiful bundle of joy. But it also brings along certain problems which can be eased out to a certain extent if you know about them beforehand.
Whatever the mode of delivery either normal or caesarean, first six weeks are considered as the recovery period where all the organs of the new mother revert back to near normal. Bleeding or lochia can last up to six weeks. It contains blood, tissue from child birth and mucus. It is heavy for a week or two then reduces. Character changes from red to pink to yellow or white. If you bleed heavily or have foul smell, fever you should report to the hospital.
- Heavy bleeding
- Severe headache and blurred vision
- Difficulty in breathing
- Swollen, red, tender breasts or nipples
- Burning in urine
- Infection of episiotomy or C Section scar
- Foul smelling vaginal discharge
- Depression or suicidal thoughts
- Use cotton based products as sanitary pads and undergarments. Do not use tampoons. Keep hygiene. Your body should be clean and dry
- Vaginal delivery- You will be given sitz bath in the hospital which you should continue at home as well to maintain cleanliness and pain relief. You can also apply ice on the perineum. Avoid long standing, sitting or cross legged position. Sleep sideways
- Intercourse is prohibited for 6 weeks
- C Section- Take a daily bath when allowed by the doctor and apply antiseptic ointment on the wound. Avoid heavy work and weight lifting. You can lift the baby though
- Rest – Adequate rest and sleep is instrumental in proper recovery of body. You should just take care of yourself and feed the baby for a few weeks. Sleep when the baby sleeps
- Body aches- Continue taking pain killers for a while. Supplements are also necessary to prevent long term deficiencies. Hot shower and massage will also help
- Constipation- Take fibre rich diet and plenty of fluids. You may need stool softener for a few days. Avoid straining at stool
- Diet- You should eat and drink well. Balanced diet consisting of complex carbohydrates, proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, egg, dairy products will help. Extra fat will only add to your pounds so you can cut the fat. Take lots of fluids to prevent dehydration and proper milk production
- Exercise- Yes you heard it right. Exercise is also helpful in recovery contrary to the popular belief that new mother should be bed ridden. Ambulate quickly. Deep breathe. Do light movements under guidance in hospital and continue at home. Kegel’s exercise is good for recovery of perineal muscle and to prevent urinary incontinence. You can increase your activity according to your capacity. After 3 months of caesarean you can do abdominal exercise also
- Breast care- Wear a comfortable nursing bra with good support. Take warm compress and gentle massage also helps. For cracked nipples you can use lanolin cream. Learn breastfeeding techniques well in advance. Proper position, latching and positive mindset are mandatory for good breastfeeding experience.
- Hand washing for parents and visitors.