The first 6-weeks after having a baby
As you know, your body changes a LOT during your pregnancy, and again after you give birth. In today’s blog we’re going to go through some of the more common postpartum discomforts and what to do about them.
1. If you’re worried about a discomfort, please call your healthcare provider and follow it up!
2. Talk to your provider or pharmacist before you take any medicine to treat a discomfort. If you’re breastfeeding, some medicines aren’t safe for your baby.
3. Go to all of your postpartum check-ups, even if you’re feeling fine. They are in place for a reason, and your health care provider can help spot and treat health conditions that you may not be aware of.
How does the postpartum period affect your emotions?
The first few weeks after your baby is born can be a time of excitement—and of being very tired. You may look at your wondrous little baby and feel happy. But at the same time, you may feel exhausted from a lack of sleep and your new responsibilities.
Many women get the "baby blues" during the first few days after childbirth. The "baby blues" usually peak around the fourth day and then ease up in less than 2 weeks. If you have the blues for more than a few days, or if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, call your doctor right away. You may have postpartum depression. This needs to be treated. Support groups and counselling can help, as can medication.
Cesarean Section Delivery
There is a lot to consider as well as the general information listed below, so take a read of our blog on this topic.
The perineum is the area between your vagina and rectum. It stretches and may tear during labor and vaginal birth. It’s often sore after giving birth, and it may be more sore if you have an episiotomy (a cut made at the opening of the vagina to help let your baby out) or tear. Your perineum may also feel a little numb because the nerves inside and around your vagina are stretched from your baby's birth. The feeling will normally come back in a few days, but it can sometimes take longer.
What you can do:
· Use ice around your perineum for 20mins every 2-3 hours to help reduce pain and swelling, especially in the first couple of days.
· Use perineal support when you do a poo. To do this use hold a wad of toilet paper and use it to apply mild pressure to your vagina/perineum.
· Keep the perineal area clean and dry, especially if you have stitches. Wash from front to back, only using water, and gently pat it dry.
· Change your pad every couple of hours, even if it’s not full.
· Don’t strain on the toilet! Keep your stools soft by maintaining a healthy diet, getting plenty of fluids, and possibly laxative support.
These are belly cramps you feel as your uterus (womb) shrinks back to its regular size after pregnancy. The cramps are often worse after subsequent babies, and should go away in a few days.
What you can do:
· Use a hot water bottle
· Ask your health provider or pharmacist for over-the-counter medicine you can take for pain.
After your baby is born, your body gets rid of the blood and tissue that was inside your uterus. This is called vaginal discharge or lochia. For the first few days, it’s heavy, bright red and may contain blood clots. Over time, the flow gets less and lighter in colour. You may have discharge for a few weeks or even for a month or more.