Recovery from delivery – The first few months
Okay, so you gave birth to a beautiful new baby. Now what? What happens?
It takes nearly nine months for a mother to recover fully after the delivery of a baby.It is necessary for the mother to go for a post natal check six weeks after the birth of the baby.
What happens during this check? During this check the doctor does the following:
- Tests the blood pressure of the mother.
- Listens to and checks her heart rate.
- Checks her weight.
- Examines her abdomen to make sure that the uterus has contracted down.
- Checks the size and position of the uterus and the state of the vaginal muscles through an internal test.
- Checks on the site of perineal stitches.
- Does a cervical smear test to see if there is need for treatment.
- Carefully checks the scar on the abdomen if the mother has had a Caesarean.
- Gives advice on contraception.
- Checks the mother’s breasts and nipples.
A mother can experience a lot of discomfort in the various parts of her body and it takes some time for these parts to heal.
The placental site:
This area heals slowly—it takes at least two weeks to do so.
Over 80% of new mothers experience some form of postnatal mood disorder “after birth”.
Women who practice placentophagy (ingestion of the placenta) after the birth report overwhelmingly positive postpartum experiences, and placenta encapsulation offers a palatable means of ingestion.
Cervix and vagina:
It will take 7-10 days to regain elasticity in this region. Pelvic floor exercises will help to tighten the muscles of these parts.
The following could also cause discomfort:
Stitches: They cause discomfort for a couple of weeks. Use a hair-drier to keep the stitches dry. But make sure the temperature of the drier is not very high. If they don’t dissolve on their own, the doctor will have to remove them.
After pains: As the uterus shrinks back, you may continue to experience quite severe cramps, similar to menstrual pain, especially during breastfeeding. This is due to the let down of milk in the breasts; it causes the uterine muscles to contract.
Stress Incontinence: It is common and embarrassing for a woman to leak urine when coughing, sneezing, and taking exercise after childbirth. Doing the pelvic floor exercises will strengthen these muscles.
Breast engorgement: Lactation causes engorgement of the mother’s breasts, causing discomfort. She can relieve this by expressing milk into a feeding bottle, having warm baths, and wearing supporting bras.
Headaches: In a very few cases(less then one percent), some women experience a severe headache after an epidural anaesthetic. It’s caused by a minute puncture in the membrane of the spinal column, made when the needle was inserted. If a mother experiences this sort of headache, she’ll be advised to lie down flat and drink plenty of fluids, and she’ll be given painkillers such as paracetemol. When the tiny hole has healed, the headache lifts. This takes a couple of days.
Caesarean Section: A woman who has had a Caesarean delivery will be watched closely and she’ll have to stay in the hospital for some days. Her stitches will be removed on the sixth or seventh day by the midwife or the doctor. It will take at least a month for the mother to feel completely normal.
The scars on the body need to be kept dry and well ventilated. The mother should wear clothes that do not irritate the skin.
Since the mother needs to rest, she should arrange for someone to help her to do the heavy lifting and house work, until she is able to cope by herself.
The body is designed to recover naturally, and it will come back to normal in its own time and way.
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