CHANGES AFTER DELIVERY
During pregnancy, your body changes and works really hard to keep your and your baby safe and healthy. Just because your baby is here doesn’t mean your body will stop changing, absolutely not. There are more changes to come (and that you need to keep a track of, to make sure you have a clean bill of health), they may be physical like your breast getting fuller to produce milk, or emotional like feeling stressed. Here is what you can expect from your body post pregnancy:
The perineum is the area between your vagina and rectum which stretches during labour and vaginal birth. It may even tear. It is often sore after giving birth, especially if you have had an episiotomy (a surgical cut made in the opening of the vagina to help the baby out). You can sit on a pillow, soak in a warm bath or use an ice-pack to manage perineum soreness. Practice wiping from front to back to prevent any infections as your episiotomy heals.
These are contractions or cramps that you feel after delivery. The cause for this is that your uterus is starting to shrink back to its normal size. These help prevent excessive bleeding by compressing blood vessels in the uterus. These should subside after a few days.
Lochia or vaginal discharge is a bodily fluid which comes out of your vagina. It may continue for a few weeks, a month or more. It is usually heavy, bright red and may contain a few blood clots during the first few weeks, but gets lighter over time. Use sanitary napkins till it subsides.
Difficulty in urinating may be caused due to swelling or bruising of the tissue surrounding the urethra or bladder. You may find that you wish to urinate but you can’t, or that sometimes you can’t stop urinating. This is called incontinence. Difficulty in urination resolves on its own; seek help from a health-care professional if problems persist.
Bowel movements and Haemorrhoids:
Painful, stretched and swollen veins in and around the anus are called haemorrhoids. A lot of women get them during pregnancy, and it may worsen after giving birth. Constipation and inability to control bowel movements (faecal incontinence) may also be an issue. Ask your health care provider and take osmotic locomotives or stool softeners if required.
Breast Engorgement, Nipple Pain and Leaking Milk:
When your breast swells as they fill with milk, it can be painful as they become tender (breast engorgement). Sometimes you may experience pain in and around the nipple area, especially if they crack. If you’re not breastfeeding, wear a firm and supportive bra to help stop milk production and leakage.
Hair Loss, Skin Changes and Mood Changes:
During your pregnancy, your hair may have seemed lush, thicker and fuller. This is because elevated hormone levels during your pregnancy keep normal hair loss on hold. After delivery, all your hair starts falling at once, this usually stops within 6 months. Stretch marks won’t disappear after delivery, but will eventually fade from reddish purple to white or silver. Any skin pigmentation which has occurred during pregnancy will also fade away in time. New moms often experience a jumble of emotions after birth, mainly depression. This usually subsides within a week r two. If your condition worsens, promptly contact your health provider.