Postpartum care is refers to immediate care for mother and baby after childbirth. During the time of pregnancy leading to childbirth a mother’s overall health and energy is completely depleted from carrying the pregnancy and finally giving birth to a child. After childbirth a mother needs special immediate care to help restore her health back to pre-pregnancy.
Postpartum period may take several weeks for mother to heal properly after childbirth. This period is significant for mother adjusting to new born and creating special bond between mother and baby with close physical care and contact. This is also a joyful period for welcoming the new born and adding new member to the family.
After childbirth many women experience changes in their body both physically and emotionally. Postpartum care is required to ensure women are care for with plenty of rest, good nutrition, and plenty of fluid to help the body heal and recover quickly.
Physical changes after childbirth
After childbirth you are physically worn out from the changes your body went through during pregnancy and labor. Postpartum care is important to provide you with immediate care to help restore your physical health back to normal as quickly as possible.
As your body begins to recover from postpartum care your uterus start to contract and you will experience after birth pain that last for few days. It may take 5 to 6 weeks for the uterus to contract to its original size.
Your breast may feel sore and engorged with milk whether or not you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is great for you and the baby because it allows you to have close physical contact with your baby and also help to speed uterus contraction to its original size.
You can also use breast pump to extract breast milk so that your partner can bottle feed the baby later. This way both partners have shared responsibility of child care and also provide opportunity for your partner to hold and feed the baby.
If you had an episiotomy you are recovering from stitches in the perineum area. It can be painful when you try to sit or walk and it may take a while to recover from the stitches.
If you had cesarean section you are recovering from stitches in the abdomen area. It can be painful when you try to move around and it takes longer time to recover from abdomen stitches.
Vaginal discharge known as lochia is common after childbirth. Lochia is bloody discharge that can last between 10 to 14 days. You will experience bloody discharge whether you have normal vaginal childbirth or medical assisted childbirth.
Do not engage in sexual intercourse until the bloody discharge has stopped. Most couples resume sexual intercourse within 6 to 8 weeks after childbirth.
You are very likely to gain weight during pregnancy and many of you may find it challenging losing the extra pounds. Make sure you are fully recovered from postpartum care before starting any exercise or routine.
Emotional changes after childbirth
After childbirth you may experience anxiety and concern about caring for the new born and may require greater emotional support from your partner and family. This is normal and it is commonly referred to as “baby blues.”
Baby blues is caused by physical stress on the body during childbirth and changes in hormone that causes the body to produce low level of estrogen and progesterone after childbirth. Baby blues may last for a week and you may experience mood swings, stress, anxiety, depression, sadness, or lack of sleep.
Women without proper postpartum care are more likely to developed postpartum depression (PPD) from baby blues. Postpartum depression is rare but if you have previous history of depression, you have higher chance of getting PPD.
Postpartum depression can last for months or years if left
untreated. Some of the symptoms may include mood swings, depression,
sadness, anxiety, guilt, and fatigue. Postpartum depression can be
treated with medication or therapy.
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