Pregnancy transforms your body in various other ways than expected and it is not over when the baby is born. It is necessary to take proper care of yourself after your delivery which is an important and indispensable part of the postnatal period. Here is a step-by-step walkthrough of what your body is going to go through and how you should take care of it.
#1: Vaginal chafing
If the mother had an episiotomy or tear in the vagina during delivery, the area will pain for some weeks till it recovers. If the injury is not minor, it will take more time to completely heal. During this recovery period, the following points have to be kept in mind:
- Tranquillize the wound – With the help of an ice-pack, cool the wound or keep a cool witch hazel pad in between the sanitary pad and the wound. The hazel pad is easily available in various chemist shops.
- Make urination easy – Spill warm water on the vulva while urinating. Keep a hygienic pad tightly over the wound when you sit down for a bowel movement.
- Maintain hygiene around the wound – Make use of a squirt bottle with water to clean the skin between the opening of the vagina and the anus after going to the toilet.
- Carefully sit down – If you are finding it difficult to sit, then you should take the support of a pillow or padded ring.
During the process of healing, the irritation and pain, if any should slowly decrease. Consult your doctor if the pain increases or if the wound gets hot, enlarges and becomes more painful or if you observe a pus like discharge.
#2: Discharge from vagina
After delivery, discharge from the vagina (lochia) is observed for many weeks. It is generally observed as shining red extensive flow of blood for the initial few days. You will notice a small gush while standing up from resting position. The discharge will slowly decrease thereby changing from pink or brown to yellow or white. In order to avoid any chances of infection, use sanitary napkins and not tampons.
Don’t worry if you notice tiny blood clots in your discharge. Consult the doctor if:
- If you wet a sanitary pad in less than an hour while taking rest.
- Vaginal discharge has a bad odor.
- The blood clots are bigger than a golf ball.
- Have a fever of 100.4 F (38 C) or more.
You can experience contractions, also known as after pains in the initial few days after delivery. These contractions are similar to menstrual cramps. For unknown reasons, the contractions get vigorous after delivery. Your doctor will prescribe you an over-the-counter pain killer, if mandatory.
Contact your doctor if you are suffering with fever or have tender abdomen. These symptoms may indicate uterine infection.
#4: Urination Problems
Problem while urinating can result due to swelling or lesion of the skin near the bladder and urethra. The painful perineal area can also cause irritation while urination. Issues with urination mostly settle on their own. Till then, it’s recommended to spill water on your vulva region while urinating so as to ease the irritation and provide some comfort.
Contact your doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms of uterine infection, most common of which are stated below:
- The process of urination is painful
- You are unable to empty your bladder completely
- Feeling the need to urinate frequently
Your pregnancy and birth pull the connective tissue at the bottom of the bladder and can induce harm to nerves and muscles of the urethra and bladder. You can pass small amounts of urine while coughing, during any strain or when laughing but this problem gets fixed within three months. Till then, you can wear sanitary pads and do kegel exercises to make your pelvic floor muscles healthier and stronger.
To perform kegel exercises, stiff your pelvic muscles in a way as you are trying to stop your urine. Attempt it for five seconds each time, four to five times in a row. Do exercises to keep your pelvic muscles shrunk for ten seconds at one time, and then relax for ten seconds between the contractions. Do this for a minimum of about three sets of ten repetitions per day.
#5: Hemorrhoids and bowel movements
If bowel movements are painful and swelling is present in the area surrounding the anus, there may be chances of hemorrhoids, along with extended and swollen veins in the anus or lower rectum. To reduce the pain during healing process of hemorrhoids, keep the area soaked in a warm water tub and apply witch hazel pads to the painful area. Your doctor may suggest you some topical hemorrhoid medication also.
If you are suppressing your bowel movements due to fear of damaging your perineum or increasing your pain of hemorrhoids or the episiotomy injury, try to keep your stools soft and smooth-running. Go for foods which have more fiber such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains and drink as much water as you can. It is advisable to be physically energetic as well. Ask your doctor regarding a stool softener or fiber laxative, if you require.
One more issue for new mothers is the lack of ability to manage the bowel movements especially if they have undergone an exceptionally lengthy labor. Continuous kegel exercises can be fruitful. If you are facing constant problem managing the bowel movements, consult your doctor.
I recommend interested readers to check out more interesting women’s health tips at AarogyaData.