So you have officially entered into motherhood, after an exhausting 40 weeks of pregnancy and some additional hours of labor. As rewarding as being a parent can be, postpartum is another milestone you are yet to achieve.
Postpartum perineal care is a journey within itself and sometimes tougher than pregnancy. It comes with its own set of symptoms, questions and recovery which is why after delivery care for a mother becomes even more important.
Knowing about a postpartum body and the transitions it goes through will help you recover better after your delivery. Here is a brief compilation of some commonly asked questions you need to know as a new mom to be.
How long does it take for your body to recover after giving birth?
No matter how smooth of a delivery you go through, postpartum is the essential recovery period your body needs.
Different Ways to Heal your Body after Postpartum
Perineum Care at Home
After you have gone through delivery, the perineum must be cleaned daily. You will be going through lochia for up to anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks. Here is how you can stay clean and treat your postpartum perineal care
- Avoid tampons at all costs. Tampons during this period can cause infection which is why maternity pads are the most recommended use of sanitary items
- Take a sitz bath or a shower once or twice a day. A sitz bath is sitting in warm shallow water that covers your buttocks region
- Urinating will be a painful process after delivery. Whenever urinating, make sure to squirt warm water to ease the perineum pain. Pat your perineum dry once you are done
- Do regular cold sitz baths to help with swelling and post-delivery pain. Gradually mix cold ice water in lukewarm water and sit for 20 minutes for an improved blood flow circulation. If you wish to add epsom salt, check with your physician if you can add any pain relieving medication
- You may continue to use your body pillow post pregnancy too, to help keep the pressure off your c-section scar
- Start with brief kegel exercises while sitting or feeding your baby. Kegel exercises are exercises of your vaginal muscles to keep your pelvic movements in order.
How heavy is the bleeding going to be post birth?
Post bleeding after giving birth is a mix of blood, placental tissue and vaginal mucus. It is okay to expect a heavy bleeding, but in case your maternity pad is soaking in less than an hour, then that might be something to be concerned of. Normally the bleeding takes up to 4-6 weeks to stop. You may also experience haemorrhoids bleeding when you poop. Haemorrhoids are swollen veins in the wall of your anus, and are a common occurrence during pregnancy. Naturally haemorrhoids go away on their own, but you may notice slight bleeding during bowel movements. In case, the condition persists, your doctor may recommend you a steroid to help with the discomfort.
When should you see a doctor for your Postpartum Perineal?
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you must call your doctor immediately;
- Unbearable vaginal discharge odour
- Persistent burning when urinating
- Complication in passing urine
- Severe pressure or pain in the pelvic region
- Change of body temperature (feverish body)
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Passing of stool or gas from vagina
- Nausea and vomiting
Postpartum Perineal Followup Treatment
Make a mandatory appointment to your doctor after 4-6 weeks of your delivery. Expect to receive a full physical examination including pelvic, breast and rectal health inspection. Ensure that you have gone through a complete physical and pelvic examination.
Your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics, pain relief medicines or even certain physical exercises to hasten your postpartum recovery journey.
The Postpartum Blues…how true are they?
Postpartum depression is a real thing and no that should not guilt trip you into neglecting yourself completely for your baby. You may feel overwhelmed after becoming a parent, which is why you should ask for help from your extended family. If you feel your depression is preventing you from taking care of your baby, then you must by all means immediately talk to a doctor.
Wrapping it Up!
Postpartum perineal care and postpartum self care is super important. Recovery takes time. Remember you have just grown a baby inside and that itself is a huge accomplishment. You can only take care of your baby if you prioritise your physical and mental health care first.