Posts for category: Postpartum Care
OBGYNS recommend that women come in for a postpartum visit approximately 6 weeks after giving birth. Unfortunately, medical reports state that the percentage of women that actually go to these appointments is staggeringly low. Of course, while a woman’s primary focus might be to care for their little one, it’s also important that women are getting the proper care they need to tackle their new role as a mother.
Any woman who has just given birth can tell you just how much pregnancy changes your body. Perhaps it changed it in ways you didn’t even imagine. So it goes without saying that those nine months of changes means that it’s going to take time for your body to bounce back to the way it was pre-baby. If you had a vaginal delivery it’s normal to experience vaginal discharge, urination problems, hemorrhoids, mood swings, hair loss, contractions, and vaginal soreness.
It’s important that you have an OBGYN that you trust to answer your questions and provide you with advice and help when you need it. An OBGYN can also be a wonderful source of emotional and mental support, which can be invaluable for a new mother.
One issue that’s often discussed during the postpartum phase is mood swings. Some women experience the “postpartum blues”, which only lasts a few weeks; however, postpartum depression is characterized by intense feelings of sadness and anxiety that can last up to one year. As you might imagine, postpartum depression can have a profound impact on a woman’s outlook and mood, making it particularly challenging when she has a new baby to take care of. An OBGYN can help provide you with the care you need and, if necessary, offer a referral for a mental health professional that can truly listen to your needs and help you on the road to healing.
Furthermore, if a mother has been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition like diabetes, hypertension, thyroid disorders, or mood disorders prior to pregnancy it’s also important that she has a follow-up visit with her gynecologist after the baby is born to ensure that she is still receiving ongoing maintenance and care for these long-term health problems to keep them in check.
It’s important that all women take postpartum care seriously to ensure that they continue to maintain good physical and mental health. Taking the time to care for yourself is important, even though you have a new baby to take care of. Ensuring that your health is in tip-top shape will allow you to spend more time with your beautiful family.
When it comes to our babies, we only want to give them the very best. As a new mother, there are so many decisions you will have to make regarding your child’s health and well-being. One of the biggest decisions to make is whether or not to breastfeed. Many women hear that breastfeeding is the best option for providing the proper nutrients to their growing newborns, but why is that the case?
Breast milk is ideal for your little one because it contains all the proper nutrients and vitamins your baby needs during the beginning stages of their life. You may not realize this, but breast milk has the ability to provide your little one with immunoglobulin A (IgA), which they need to help fight against diseases and infections such as meningitis, ear infections, and respiratory diseases.
Breastfeeding your baby may also protect them against certain allergies. Some studies have found that babies who drink formula or cow’s milk were more likely to develop certain food allergies than babies who were breastfed. There have even been some studies that have found a link between cognitive development and whether your child drinks breast milk.
Breastfeeding may also reduce your child’s chances of becoming obese in later years. This may have to do with the fact that breast milk doesn’t have as much insulin as formula or that babies who are breastfed are better able to determine when they are full and should stop eating, which may create a healthy habit that they carry on throughout life.
Breastfeeding can also benefit the mother, too. When you nurse your baby it releases oxytocin, which helps mothers feel more relaxed. Since the first few months with your baby can be new and stressful, having these moments to reduce stress and lessen the symptoms of postpartum depression can make this transition into parenthood much easier.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises mothers to breastfeed their babies for at least six months, even though they can continue to do so even after the first six months. If you have questions about breastfeeding or if you are having concerns or issues with breastfeeding, this is the perfect time to talk to your OBGYN, who will be able to address your concerns and make the breastfeeding process easier for you and your baby.
Giving birth is one of the most exciting, beautiful, and difficult things many women will ever do. Taking care of yourself afterward may seem trivial in comparison with the demands of your new baby. However, postpartum care is a crucial part of recovering properly and getting yourself back into top physical health to provide the care your newborn requires.
What to Expect
- Vaginal Birth: You will experience soreness in your vaginal area, especially if you had a tear or episiotomy during the birth. You may feel afterpains, or mild contractions after giving birth. These will accompany several weeks of vaginal discharge called lochia, which presents itself as bright red and flows heavily during the first days after delivery, tapering off over the next few weeks. Bowel movements may be difficult and cause hemorrhoids.
- Caesarean Section: Caesarean sections require a longer hospital stay than a vaginal birth, usually around three to four days. After receiving pain medication, your doctors and nurses will encourage walking short distances to help with the buildup of gas within the abdomen. Many women find walking to be very difficult at first, but gets easier with time. You will also experience some vaginal bleeding in the days or weeks after delivery.
Postpartum care after a vaginal birth is different than caesarean section aftercare. After a vaginal delivery, sitting on a pillow or donut may help avoid pain from a tear or episiotomy. Drinking plenty of water and eating foods that are high in fiber can help keep stools soft if you have problems passing bowel movements. Your doctor can also prescribe stool softeners if necessary. Using an icepack or a frozen sanitary pad coated with witch hazel can help relieve discomfort and pain along with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Aftercare for a caesarean section begins during your hospital stay. Your doctor may administer narcotics like morphine to help with pain relief for the first day or two. After leaving the hospital, you will require as much help as possible. You may receive a prescription for pain relievers. Your incision will remain tender and sore for several weeks after delivery though it will heal gradually and feel better every day. Be sure to get plenty of rest and avoid lifting heavy items for at least eight weeks. Your scar will start out very obvious but shrink as you heal.