Posts for: January, 2018
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.
High-risk pregnancies occur when your health or that of your baby can be affected during the pregnancy or delivery. Are you concerned your pregnancy may be high-risk? Take a look at a few factors that can increase your risk.
If you're under age 17 or over 35, your pregnancy will be considered high risk, due to the increased likelihood of complications.
Preeclampsia, also called toxemia, occurs when you develop high blood pressure and a high level of protein in your urine. The condition can be dangerous for both you and your baby and usually develops after the 20th week of pregnancy. It can cause swelling in the hands, legs, and feet.
This form of diabetes develops around the 24th week of pregnancy and is usually detected during a routine screening. The problem occurs when your body can't use glucose efficiently. In most cases, you'll no longer have diabetes after your baby is born.
Complications, gestational diabetes, and premature labor are more likely if you're carrying more than one baby.
Your pregnancy will be considered high-risk if there's a developmental or genetic problem with your baby, or if a heart, lung or kidney problem is spotted during an ultrasound,
Placenta previa occurs when the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix. If you have the condition, you may experience severe bleeding during your pregnancy. Because severe bleeding can also occur during birth, you may need a Cesarean section, particularly if the placenta completely covers the cervix. Bed rest is usually recommended for women who have placenta previa.
You or your baby may be more likely to experience complications if you have high blood pressure, cancer, epilepsy, asthma, diabetes, HIV or AIDS, lung disease, autoimmune disorders, kidney or heart problems, or sexually transmitted diseases.
Women who have had three or more miscarriages can benefit from more intense monitoring during pregnancy.
Most high-risk pregnancies have happy endings, thanks to the special care women receive during the pregnancies. If you have an issue that could raise your risk, it's important to talk to your ob/gyn about your concerns as soon as you become pregnant or notice a problem.