As soon as you find your pregnancy test positive and use the due date calculator to check when you will meet your baby, your excitement knows no bounds. However, your motherhood journey doesn’t right after you deliver your little one. The next phase you have to enter is the postpartum stage.
If you have recently had given birth to your child, chances are your body is already going through many physical and emotional changes, and it’s no wonder. While you’re paying full attention to take care of your little one, it’s also essential to take care of yourself to rebuild your strength. Here’s what you need to know about recovery and care after delivery!
What Is Postpartum Care?
The postpartum period starts right after you undergo delivery, be it natural or C-section. This period often lasts about 6-8 weeks after childbirth. As you navigate through the postpartum, you experience many physical and mental changes that work towards shifting your body back to your pre-pregnancy state. To keep things running smoothly, you need to learn how to deal with all the necessary changes to becoming a new mother. Thus, the care for the mother after delivery is called postpartum care.
Changes You Can Expect After Childbirth
Whether you have just undergone a natural delivery or cesarean section, the post-delivery period brings its own set of physical and emotional challenges. Here’s what you can expect:
Some of the physical challenges you can expect are:
Breast Engorgement: With the delivery comes, breastfeeding! Since your breasts are filled with milk after childbirth, you may experience breast engorgement (swelling). It can sometimes be uncomfortable, but if you frequently breastfeed your little one on both sides, it can be eased. You can also try wearing a supportive nursing bra or applying a warm or cold compress to reduce the tenderness.
Constipation: After childbirth, the chances are that you’ll be suffering from constipation due to excess iron supplements in your body. Drink plenty of fluids and eat fiber-rich foods to stimulate bowel movements.
Pelvic Floor Changes: Your perineum stretches and often tears during childbirth. You can strengthen your pelvic muscles and help this area recover post-delivery by doing Kegel exercises.
Sweating: Dripping with sweat or burning up? Hormonal changes can cause hot flashes for weeks after having a baby.
Uterine Pain: A shrinking uterus after childbirth can cause abdominal cramping. Although the pain fades away over time, you can consult your doctor for safe pain medication.
Vaginal Discharge: After giving birth, you can experience vaginal discharge for up to a few weeks. This is your body’s way to eliminate blood and tissue from the uterus. Wear sanitary napkins until it stops.
Urinary Incontinence: Childbirth weakens your pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to urinary incontinence. This mostly happens in a vaginal birth, particularly the one that involves forceps or other interventions.
While some new moms feel joyous and happy, others feel stressed and anxious after giving birth. A few common emotional changes seen in the new mother are:
Baby Blues: Most mothers feel overwhelmed and weepy for up to two weeks after giving birth. It’s called ‘baby blues’ and happens due to hormonal changes. The baby blues typically include insomnia, restlessness, irritability, sadness, mood changes, and unexplained crying.
Postpartum Depression: If you find yourself always feeling sad and depressed, you may be suffering from postnatal depression. It affects nearly 10% of new moms.
Anxiety: As a new mother, you may have several reasons to be anxious. Try not to overthink and let things settle down.
Irritability: The arrival of the baby may interfere with your sleep patterns, making you feel irritated. The best way to overcome it is to sleep whenever possible.
Guilt: After childbirth, you’ll have less time to spend with your better half, which can cause a feeling of guilt. Set aside a few hours every day to spend with your partner!
Mood Swings: Hormonal changes and sudden changes in responsibilities can lead to mood swings after childbirth. Get in touch with an expert if your mood swings are unusually low.
Tips for Postpartum Care
As you undergo the changes mentioned above, follow the below postpartum care tips for an easier transition:
- Sleep as much as you can
- Eat nutritious foods
- Exercise regularly
- Drink plenty of water
- Prioritize your own needs
- Listen to your body
- Take a sitz bath
- Practice yoga or meditation to calm your mind
- Spend quality time with your partner
- Take some time for yourself
Postpartum care is a crucial part of your motherhood journey. With all the hustle and bustle of the new arrival, you may have forgotten the most important person that is You. So taking good care of yourself is as vital as looking after your baby. Remember, only when you are fit can you keep your little one fit too!