Congratulations on embracing motherhood. It was indeed a long time and you must have been through a lot of difficulties to maintain the health of you and your baby. But the real question is, is this finally over? Certainly not!
Now as you have given birth to a healthy baby, you have officially entered the postpartum period. Postpartum period can be troubling for most of the mothers and require special postpartum care to go through it with ease.
What is Postpartum Care?
Your postpartum period begins as soon as you give birth to your child. It tends to last throughout the first six weeks. This is indeed a joyous time but at the same time, it requires healing and certain other adjustments for all new mothers. You are likely to bond with your child and go through a series of post-delivery checkups with your physicians.
Adjusting to Motherhood
Embracing motherhood and adjusting to everyday life after giving birth to a baby is certainly not easy. There are a lot of challenges ahead of you, especially if you are a new mom. It is important to take care of the baby but at the same time, you have to take care of yourself.
New mothers do not return back to work for first six weeks right after giving birth. This gives them time to adapt and develop according to their new lives. Because a baby has to be changed and fed often, you may often have to experience sleepless nights. It can be tiring and frustrating at the same time.
The good news is that you will gradually adapt to this routine. To make this routine easier, a few tips need to be followed.
1. Be Well-rested
Get as much sleep as you can to cope with the fatigue and tiredness. Your baby can wake up every two hours and demand feeding. To ensure that you get adequate sleep, match your sleeping time with that of your baby.
2. Ask for Help
Do not hesitate in asking for help both from the family and friends if you are finding it difficult to cope with the new life. Your body needs healing and practical help can help you rest more. Your friends and family can run errands, prepare meals, or take care of other children at home.
3. Eat Well
To speed up the process of healing during postpartum care, make sure to consume a balanced diet. Start consuming whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein. Also focus on the fluid intake, particularly if you are breastfeeding.
4. Work Out
Your doctor will instruct you regarding the recommended exercise routine and when to start it. Remember that the exercise does not need to be strenuous. You can start by taking a walk in the neighborhood.
Functioning as a New Family Unit
A new baby requires adjustment of an entire family. It can even alter the dynamic that you share with your better half. You and your partner might not get sufficient time to spend together which may cause problems. The postpartum period is stressful but can be managed.
For starters, try being patient. Understand that it is imminent for every couple to go through certain changes after having a baby. It will require some time to adjust to the new life. Caring for a newborn becomes easier with every passing day.
Try communicating as a family. If anyone of you starts feeling left out- even if it is your spouse or other kids- talk about it. Babies require a lot of attention and both you and your partner will spend most of the time caring for your baby. However, do not feel guilty if you try spending time with each other for a while.
Postpartum Depression versus Baby Blues
It is absolutely normal to suffer from baby blues during the postpartum period. This typically begins a few days after you give birth and may last up to two weeks. In the majority of the cases, you won’t experience the symptoms every time. Almost 70 to 80 percent of the new moms go through negative feelings and mood swings after giving birth.
Baby blues are caused by fluctuating hormones and the symptoms may include:
· Unexplained crying
· Mood changes
When Should You See a Doctor?
Remember that baby blues and postpartum depression are two different things. Postpartum depression occurs when the symptoms of baby blues do not go away after two weeks of delivery.
It is, therefore, extremely important to watch out for postpartum depression during postpartum care. This condition is serious and requires attention. Speak with your doctor if you find yourself stuck in such a situation.
Coping with the Body Changes
In addition to emotional changes, your body will certainly go through a lot of physical changes during the process of delivery. Embracing these changes and learning to live with them is an important part of postpartum care.
Weight loss does not occur overnight so be patient and talk to your doctor about when you can start exercising. Go for a swimming, take a stroll, or join the aerobics class to begin losing weight.
Losing weight also requires you to eat properly. Every new mother loses weight at a different rate, so avoid comparing yourself with others. Breastfeeding will help you to return to the pre-pregnancy state early.
Speak to your doctor about any bodily concerns during postpartum care. Some of the change that your body is expected to go through are:
Your breasts will start secreting milk soon after birth. This is completely normal but the accompanying engorgement or swelling might be uncomfortable. Engorgement will take time to improve and certain remedies, such as applying warm or cold compress, can be adapted to speed up the process
To avoid constipation, consume high-fiber food and drink the surplus amount of water. Inquire about safe medications that can be sued for the same purpose. Drinking enough water will help you resolve the problems related to urination. Exercises, such as Kegel exercises, can also be performed to strengthen pelvic muscles and improve incontinence.
Pelvic Floor Changes
The perineum is the area lying between your vagina and rectum. It often gets torn apart during the process of giving birth. To help recover it, Kegel exercises and cold packs wrapped in a towel can greatly help.
RELATED: What Causes Pain In The Pelvis?
Excessive sweating may occur due to hormonal fluctuations. Keep your body cool by removing the blankets from the bed.
Shrinking of uterus right after giving birth can lead to cramping, which subsides over time. If it does not go away, ask your doctor about pain medications you can take.
Vaginal discharge is usually seen up to two to four weeks after birth. It is actually your body trying to get rid of tissue and blood from the uterus. Use sanitary napkins unless it stops. Do not use tampons or douche until your appointment at four to sixth-week post-delivery, or until your doctor recommends it. Both tampons and douche can increase the risk of uterine infections.
If your discharge is foul-smelling, inform the doctor. You may even continue to experience bloody spotting during the first week postpartum, but heavy bleeding is not expected.
If your bleeding saturates one pad in two hours, it is time to contact your doctor.
Giving birth can certainly change your routine and family life, but you will gradually settle down with the right kind of postpartum care. Proper postpartum care will aid in healing you both mentally and physically. Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor regarding any concerns whether it is about postpartum depression, your baby, or your healing process.