The various changes during the entire term of pregnancy changes your body in more than many ways. Even after the delivery, there are several changes that you might experience.
a) Vaginal soreness
During a normal delivery vaginal tear is normal. Sometimes for easy delivery your operating doctor may create small incision on either side of the vagina. This makes the delivery easy and smooth. However, post-delivery, the tear or the incision may take longer than required to heal. But there are ways you can fasten the process of healing:
In case the pain is not subsiding or the area remains inflamed for long, contact your doctor immediately.
b) Vaginal discharge
Women after the delivery experience a vaginal discharge for some weeks. One can witness some blood flow too, which is thick. However, with the passage of time this gradually reduces and disappears.
Post-delivery, sometimes the person can witness cramping. However, there is nothing to be alarmed, as these cramps helps prevent excess flow of blood. Usually an over-the-counter pain reliever is recommended for this. Contact your doctor if you suspect any infection around the discharge area or have fever or some abdominal pain.
c) Urination problems
Delivery also causes swelling and cuts in and around the tissues of your bladder. This results in some pain while urinating. You may feel the stinging sensation even when you cough or sneeze. But this problem subsides on its own.Using warm water while urinating or using the toilet eases the tension and the burning sensation. You should contact you doctor if you continue to have the problems listed above.
To relieve the pain, start wearing sanitary pads or start performing kegel exercises to strengthen your muscles.
d) Hemorrhoids and bowel movements
Often post-delivery, women may develop hemmorroids and have difficulty in bowel movement. In such a scenario, it is advisable to have sitz bath in warm water after every bowel. Alternatively, there are gels available in the market that smoothens the anal opening facilitating the movement. Moreover, use stool softeners to remove any hard stools. Continue this till the time you do not get a complete relief.
e) Sore breasts and leaking milk
It takes some days before your breasts become firm and swollen for lactation. It is therefore important to express milk. It is recommended to use a breast pump or warm shower to express milk. When you are not feeding, wear a supporting bra to help stop milk production in excess. Consult your gynecologist if you feel pain while feeding.
f) Hair loss and skin changes
Hair loss, hair thinning is very common phenomena post-delivery. Moreover, there are stretch marks after delivery. However, with continued focus on nutrition and following a healthy lifestyle these things can be resolved. It usually takes 4-6 months for a complete recovery.
g) Mood swings
Motherhood accompanies strong emotional overflows. Sudden mood changes and irregular anxiety levels are common. Some even suffer with depression. If you are one of them, it is good to spend time with family and express your emotions. This helps in getting rid of the mood swings.
h) Weight loss
Childbirth also makes you feel that you are out of shape. You accumulate a lot of baby fat around your waistline. However, this wards off slowly. You can improve the process by regular exercise and adopting a healthy food habit.
The postpartum checkup
After six weeks of delivery, you should visit your doctor to run a routine checkup for your vagina, cervix and uterus. Your doctor will inform you about the healing levels across all these organs. However, your patience and your own efforts will help you get rid of these minor problems eventually.
Newborns or infants are prone to get sick on account of temperature changes in the surrounding environment. So it is very important to keep them protected from all the environmental changes. They may also contract a number of bacteria or virus borne diseases.
However, infants need some extra care to protect them from a number of ailments at every stage from the time of birth:
a) Newborn care immediately after birth
There are a number of precautions that your doctors and nurses take immediately after the birth. While they are cleaned and their umbilical chord is clipped, they are simultaneously give mild suction to remove any liquid or fluid from their mouth. Immediately after birth, doctors perform an assessment to evaluate your baby’s heart rate, breathing, muscle tone and other neuro-motor responses.
b) When can I start breastfeeding?
It is advisable to acclimatize your baby for breastfeeding right after the birth. They tend to bond easily with the mother right after the birth. They tend to attach themselves with the mother if given a ‘kangaroo’ touch soon after the birth. Skin to skin touch gives the baby a feeling of warmth and accomplishment. However, at times your baby may not feed in the first instance. But there is no need to worry.Most babies learn and device their own ways to do so. Consult your doctor or the nurse on service to help. They may help you or coach you for easy lactation.
c) What if I’ve had a C-section?
If your delivery is not a normal one, your baby will be immediately put under supervision of a doctor. These days, a special Neonatal intensive care units are built in the hospitals to take care of babies born through c-section or prematurely. Such babies are often kept for some days to protect them from infection and mal-development. Post this period, babies are discharged and united with their mother. During this while, mother can see them growing in incubators.
d) Baby’s shower and pediatric examination
Once your baby’s temperature has stabilized, the hospital nurse gives him a sponge bath and washes his hair and body. These are given under an able supervision. Soon after the bath, the baby is covered in a blanket to provide warmth. Hospital’s pediatric surgeon will visit the ward to examine infant in the nursery. You will be discharged within 24-48 hours depending upon your recovery.
It is a general belief and fact that a new born and the new mother is susceptible to contracting various kinds of infections and diseases. A number of communities even perform rituals around the new born and pray for his long and healthy life. Of the many traditions being followed at that point of time, confinement is also practiced to save the new mother and the baby from any evil or unforeseen problems.Therefore, the confinement period may last from some days to weeks after the delivery.
What happens during the confinement period?
The idea of confinement is also to give enough time to the new mother to recover from the exhaustion of the delivery and nine-month ordeal that she might have gone through. During this period, the mother can by choice, spend time with her near and dear ones, or may also go through daily sessions of massage therapy being given by an expert masseur.
Families often put certain restrictions too during this confinement. Some of these are based purely on dogmas and some have some scientific base.
Some of the healthy activities are:
Mothers are advised to have a full body massage from an expert masseur daily to remove the fat or the stretch marks on the belly. In case the baby is born from a c-section, it is good to consult your doctor before start of your massage sessions.
Light massage helps infants to build their bones and tone their limbs properly. However, massage should be with very light hand so that their fragile bones and limbs are not dislocated or broken.
While in the confinement period, it is equally important to pay heed to the food you eat. For instance, the new mother should not eat very spicy or fried food. The new feeding mother’s milk is the only source of nutrition for the baby. In such a scenario eating very spicy or fried food may not help the baby indirectly. In fact it is proven that he might develop problems such constipation after having mother’s milk.
Food items during this phase should provide warmth to the infant. Some examples of these food items are: Gourds, beetal leaves to be chewed after every meal; mothers are advised to have ghee, which is considered to provide strength and aid muscle repair. One should avoid fruits, fizz drinks, as these are considered cold.
How long should be this confinement period?
The tradition prevalent in north, west and south of India suggest that the confinement period usually lasts for more than a month to 45 days. In the east, north-east the tradition is not followed so rigorously. Sometimes working mothers prefer to stay indoors for more time with their newly born.