Maryville OBGYN gives advice and support through postpartum changes.
Significant changes happen to a woman’s body during pregnancy and birth. A new mother can expect a wide range of physical and psychological changes. It is to expected after delivery of a child, whether it is a vaginal birth or a cesarean section. This article provides some general information in regards to what is normal. It will also provide some basic strategies for management. If you have further questions or concerns in regards to your postpartum recovery, please call our office.
Changes You Can Expect
- Two to three days after delivery, your breast milk supply will increase. This can result in your breasts becoming firm and tender to touch. If the breasts are painful, cold compresses or cold cabbage leaves can provide relief.
- Feeding the baby often will help keep your breasts soft, and prevent engorgement.
- Some mothers choose to breastfeed. If you do, wear a snug fitting supportive bra and avoid stimulating your nipples.
- A fever associated with breast pain is sometimes reported. There may also be a deep shooting pain in your breast, or a burning sensation in your nipple(s). Please call the office if you are experiencing these symptoms.
- After delivery, you will likely experience vaginal discharge. This is called lochia, and is a combination of the old uterine lining and blood. Over time, it will naturally change from bright red, to pink, to a whitish color.
- It is common for bleeding to be intermittent.
- You may notice an increase in the amount of bleeding. Decrease your activity level if you notice this. It is likely a signal for you to slow down and rest more.
- After delivery, we recommend using pads instead of tampons. At least until you have your first menstrual period. Use pads until your health care provider advises otherwise.
- Your perineum will likely be sore and swollen after birth. The pain should improve daily over the first couple weeks.
- Keeping the perineum clean and dry will help to promote healing and increase comfort. Use the peri bottle with warm water. After removing a soiled peri-pad, squeeze the bottle to rinse the perineum. Pat dry, from front to back.
Bowel and Bladder
- It may be uncomfortable urinating or having a bowel movement for a few days after your baby’s birth. There are signs of a bladder infection. These signs are pain or burning while urinating, or the urge to urinate often. Call your doctor right away if you are experiencing this.
- As soon as the urge to have a bowel movement arises, go to the bathroom right away. Avoid straining and sitting on the toilet for extended periods of time.
- Reduce the risk of constipation by incorporating fiber into your diet. This includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Increasing fluid intake (10-12 glasses per day) is also recommended. If these strategies are not successful, you can take over the counter docusate sodium. Take 100mg tablets, twice daily.
- Many women develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy and after giving birth.
- Relieve hemorrhoid pain with ice packs or over the counter pads containing. Try finding pads that contain Witch Hazel. In most cases, hemorrhoids will shrink over time and become less uncomfortable.
The Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression
The birth of a baby entails many physical changes. The transition into motherhood also involves a wide array of emotions. These emotions are ranging from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. Further, emotional and psychological responses may occur. These responses may be different than responses with a prior pregnancy.
Many new moms experience the “postpartum baby blues” after childbirth. These blues can include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues begin within the first two to three days after delivery, and may last up to two weeks. If the “baby blues” are persisting longer than two weeks, please call our office.
Some new moms experience a more severe, longer-lasting form of depression. This is postpartum depression. Prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms — and enjoy your new baby.
Please contact the office if:
(1) The baby blues are persisting longer than two weeks
(2) At any point you feel the “baby blues” are impacting your ability to care for yourself or provide care to your baby.
There are treatment resources available if you are experiencing these symptoms. Contact the office today to schedule an appointment.