Pregnancy is like an individual roller coaster ride for every woman, full of physical, mental and emotional ups and downs. By the third trimester all of these changes become more and more challenging and the countdown to our due date begins. While most of the new moms anticipate that their pregnancy woes will end with the birth of their child, the reality is far different. Many of your pregnancy conditions will continue to trouble you for another 6-8 weeks, generally referred as the Post Partum Period.
Today we are going to tell you regarding a few post delivery challenges that are commonly encountered by mothers.
- Breast changes
Your breast may initially swell up just after the delivery due to the excess production of milk. They will also become hard and sore. Once you set up breastfeeding pattern this engorgement will ease out and then your breast will become saggy.
A lot of women also complain regarding congestion in breasts and milk leakage, which can last for several weeks, even months. Wearing a good support bra, increasing the fluid intake, using breast pads, breast massages and frequent breast feeding will help you to cope up with these post pregnancy woes. Some mothers also experience a mild infection which may cause redness and tenderness in a part of their breasts along with nausea, fever, fatigue and headache. An antibiotic treatment is required to cure such infections, so consult your doctor straightaway.
- Incontinence & UTI
These two are common nuisance for new mothers. The wear and tear of pelvic floor muscles during the strenuous process of labour pain and child birth results in urinary incontinence. Further, it is difficult for new mothers to empty their expanded bladder completely.
The longer stay of urine in the urinary tract increases the growth of bacteria which in turn results in higher vulnerability towards Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). Performing a few simple Kegel exercises several times a day regularly can help in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles within weeks and thus help in preventing UTIs.
Also, drinking plenty of water, maintaining proper hygiene, including vitamin C in your diet and keeping your genitals dry will further help you in avoiding these infections. Those of you who get infected anyhow should consult the Gynecologist at the earliest as besides being painful, UTI can also spread over to harm your kidneys.
- Stomach issues
Digestive issues in post natal phase are also not rare. Constipation will continue to trouble you even after the delivery as a side effect of pain killers. Less movement and lot of bed rest, which is pertinent in cesarean deliveries, will cause excessive flatulence. A little walk within your room and plenty of fluid intakes can help you a lot. Excessive pushing due to constipation and child birth can often result in development of painful Haemorrhoids, which need immediate medical attention.
The whole process of child birth is very painful and the pain is going follow you for a few initial weeks. In a vaginal delivery the tender tissues of perineum get severely affected causing a lot of pain and swelling afterwards. More so if you have to undergo an Episiotomy. This soreness is however transitory and will reduce as your body heals up. Meanwhile, warm baths and cold packs can provide some relief. Also in C-section delivery the incision takes 6-8 weeks to heal up completely, causing a lot of discomfort to new mothers. Moreover, backache is also a very common complaint during the postnatal period.
- Vaginal bleeding
Although everyone is aware of it but still this mere awareness will not lessen the uneasiness, irritation and pain every mother goes through with the discharge of Lochia- vaginal bleeding following the childbirth. This vaginal discharge is heavy initially and gradually reduces over the period of 6-8 weeks after the delivery. Take proper rest and have healthy diet to restore your blood loss and energy levels.
- Swollen feet
The swelling you had in your feet, ankle and legs during pregnancy is going to stay with you for a few more weeks. Water retention, high sodium content of intravenous fluid given during the surgery or obstructing blood flow to the legs due to the overly expanded uterus; all of them can be the reason for the elephantine size of your legs.
However within few weeks your kidneys will clear up the extra fluid and as you start to shed those extra pounds, this condition will improve.
- Hair loss
Due to hormonal changes most of the women enjoy thicker, stronger and shinier hairs during their gestational period. But this lack of normal and natural hair loss during pregnancy gets kind of compensated in the postnatal phase; and many new moms face hair loss issues. The best way to deal with is to keep patience. Your hair growth cycle will take a few months to get normalized on its own.
- Skin discoloration & stretch marks
After enjoying the compliments for the rosy pregnancy glow; many women get disheartened due to appearance of the mask of pregnancy (or CHLOSMA). The sharp rise in estrogen levels causes excess production of Melanin, which in turn results in prominent skin discoloration, specifically on forehead, cheeks, and upper lip. This skin condition is more common in the women of Asian and African descents as they naturally have more pigmented skin.
Appearance of stretch marks caused by the stretching of the dermis (middle layer of the skin) is another common notorious skin problem in the post natal stage. Chlosema is generally a temporary setback. Avoid exposure to the sun light while you have it and it will fade away with time. However stretch marks can never be eliminated completely. You can either use home remedies to lessen their appearance or opt for complex cosmetic procedures like laser treatments to get rid of them.
- Low sex drive
While most of the post natal problems recede within 6-8 weeks after the delivery, low sex drive will continue to trouble you for a longer duration. The steep fall in estrogen levels, in combination with physical exhaustion following childbirth, vaginal dryness and breastfeeding can cause a substantial decrease in your libido.
Nothing to despair though, as it takes time but it will rebound. Talking with your partner regarding these issues will help you in getting away with this uneasy phase.
- Postpartum fatigue
After going through the exhaustive phase of pregnancy and child birth, sudden loss of blood and weight and continuous care of your new bundle of joy are reasons enough for drained out or sluggish feeling that almost all women complain about, after giving birth. The imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels further cause a significant drop in your energy levels. A healthy diet and a supportive family is the best remedy to overcome this health condition. In case, it doesn’t seem to get better; do get yourself checked for hypothyroidism and anemia.
- Post natal depression
Clearly with all these vital changes in your body and health along with the pressure of taking care of your little baby is a tough job. Lack of sleep, hormonal shifts and physical weakness make it all even harder to deal with. Consequently, many women struggle with mood swings, anxiety, hopelessness, tiredness, fear, loneliness and guilt after giving birth. If you develop any of these feelings and they are not getting better with time then you must get yourself checked for post natal depression. Generally, with a little support and counselling postnatal depression can be overcome easily; but if not diagnosed timely, it can build up into a serious issue.
Now that you are well aware of these conditions, I hope you can prepare yourself to deal with them wisely without losing your mind. Your body needs time to retain it pre pregnancy shape and strength, don’t hasten up things. Your body and your baby need proper nourishment, so don’t try to go for crash diets too. Be patient with your body for a few more weeks and your body will thank you for sure.
Live the moment!
Aafiya is a health and wellness enthusiast. She utilizes her spare time to contribute insightful articles around day to day lifestyle challenges and their remedies, that all can relate to.
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