women

After birth, all of your attention is focused on caring for your new baby. But new mothers need to take special care of their bodies after giving birth and while breastfeeding

Your baby’s finally here, and you’re excited, but you’re also exhausted, uncomfortable and on an emotional rollercoaster. No matter how you birthed your baby, the physical changes of the postpartum period are immediately visible, unlike the gradual changes of pregnancy.

Your baby’s finally here, and you’re excited, but you’re also exhausted, uncomfortable and on an emotional rollercoaster.

Your baby’s finally here, and you’re excited, but you’re also exhausted, uncomfortable and on an emotional rollercoaster.

What to expect

Tender breasts

Your breasts may feel full and tender for several days when your milk comes in and your nipples may be sensitive at first. You will have colostrum in your breasts until the mature milk comes in within three to six days after delivery. If you have any breastfeeding problems, talk to your midwife, or a lactation specialist. She can advise you on how to deal with any breastfeeding problems.

Relieve clogged milk ducts with breast massage, frequent feeding, feeding after a warm shower, and warm moist compresses applied throughout the day. Tender breasts will feel better as soon as your breastfeeding has found a rhythm.

Constipation and hemorrhoids

The first postpartum bowel movement may be a few days after delivery, and sensitive hemorrhoids, healing perineum and sore muscles can make it extremely uncomfortable. Although common, hemorrhoids are unexpected.

Alternating warm sits baths (sitting in just a few inches of water and covering the buttocks, up to the hips, in the water) and cold packs can help with hemorrhoids. It also can help to sit on an inflatable doughnut cushion. Ask your doctor about a stool softener, but don’t use laxatives, suppositories, or enemas without your doctor’s permission.

Ask your doctor about a stool softener, but don’t use laxatives, suppositories, or enemas without your doctor’s permission.

Ask your doctor about a stool softener, but don’t use laxatives, suppositories, or enemas without your doctor’s permission.

Episiotomy

If your perineum (the area of skin between the vagina and the anus) was cut by your doctor or if it was torn during the birth, the stitches may make it painful to sit or walk for a little while during healing. It also can be painful when you cough or sneeze. Continue sits baths using cool water for the first few days, then warm water after that. Squeeze the cheeks of your bottom together when you sit to avoid pulling painfully on the stitches.

Use a squirt bottle with warm water to flush the area when you use the toilet, and pat yourself dry. After a bowel movement, wipe from front to back to avoid infection. Reduce swelling with ice packs or chilled witch hazel pads.

Hot or cold flashes

 Your body’s adjustment to different hormones and blood flow levels often wreaks havoc on your internal thermostat. Wear layered clothing and always have a glass of water handy to cool you down.

Urinary or fecal incontinence

The stretching of your muscles during delivery can cause you to inadvertently pass urine when you cough, laugh, or strain or may make it difficult to control your bowel movements, especially if you experienced a long labor.

This often resolves gradually as your body returns to its normal pre-pregnancy state. Encourage the process with Kegel exercises, which help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Wear a sanitary pad for protection. Let the doctor know about any incontinence you experience.

This often resolves gradually as your body returns to its normal pre-pregnancy state.

This often resolves gradually as your body returns to its normal pre-pregnancy state.

“After birth pains”

 After giving birth, your uterus will continue to have contractions for a few days. These are most noticeable when your baby breastfeeds. You will have a heavy and bright red vaginal discharge called lochia.

It is the tissue and blood that lined your uterus during pregnancy. Initially heavier than your period and often containing clots, it gradually fades to white or yellow and then stops within a few weeks. Wear thick maternity pads.

Swelling

 This may take place in your legs and feet for a while. You can reduce this by keeping your feet elevated whenever possible.

Weight

Your postpartum weight will probably be about six to seven kilograms below your full-term weight (the weight of the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid), before additional water weight drops off within the first week as your body regains its balance.

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