Even the easiest of births have some side effects, and some of those can be just as strange or startling as the pregnancy issues you just finished. Depending on how you delivered and other factors, you might have temporary symptoms during the weeks after delivery. Here’s some advice for treating these common symptoms, from the women care experts at Desert Blossom Women’s Care.
Vaginal bleeding, also known as lochia, is your body flushing out the extra blood and tissue. The flow can be heavy for up to 10 days, with light bleeding and spotting up to six weeks after delivery. That disposable mesh underwear from the hospital will spare your underwear, and wear sanitary pads instead of using tampons.
Pain and Discomfort
You’re probably going to be achy from pushing, and have abdominal pain as your uterus returns to normal. Acetaminophen, hot baths or showers, heating pads and even massages may help. Your perineum might be sore and uncomfortable for several weeks; if so, sit on an ice pack several times a day for 10 minutes, especially after using the bathroom. You could have hemorrhoids, and topical anesthetics, sitz baths, witch hazel pads, suppositories, and hot and cold compresses can help. Pain is exhausting, so until you feel better and your midwife says you can resume regular activities, rest and let other people take care of chores.
If you had a C-section or a cut or torn perineum, you have stitches. The stitches will absorb, but for now, rest, take pain relievers as directed, and keep the stitches from getting infected. For your perineum, use a squirt bottle with warm water to clean up after using the toilet and pat yourself dry instead of wiping. Do not touch your stitches, and if they’re red, swollen or weeping pus, talk to your midwife.
Difficulty Using the Bathroom
You’ll be urinating as often as you did while pregnant, including accidental leaks. Your blood volume increased, and you’re working on getting rid of that extra fluid. Kegel exercises, sitz baths and panty liners can help. If you delivered vaginally, you might have trouble feeling the urge to go because of mild, temporary nerve damage; try to urinate frequently, even if you don’t feel like you need to. For constipation, stay hydrated, eat food with a lot of fiber, exercise when you’re ready, and talk to your midwife about a stool softener.
Nipple and Breast Discomfort
When you’re learning to breastfeed, nipple and breast discomfort are common. Wear dark, patterned tops, nursing pads and well-fitted nursing bras to hide leaks and help discomfort. Wet, warm washcloths over your areolas, gentle massaging and ice packs can help sore breasts. Expose sore nipples to air after breastfeeding, let milk dry on them, or apply medical-grade lanolin. If the soreness continues after a few days, vary your positions or consult a lactation expert.
Around 70 to 80 percent of women struggle with postpartum feelings. Confiding in someone may help you feel better. If your feelings last for more than a few weeks or affect your ability to function, you could have postpartum depression and should call your midwife.
Postpartum Healthcare With Desert Blossom Women’s Care
You have a baby to take care of, but you can’t neglect your own health. If something feels wrong, it probably is, so stay in touch with your healthcare team. The certified nurse-midwives at Desert Blossom Women’s Care can help you feel better about your recovery process. Get in touch to schedule an appointment.