Congratulations to all those mothers who have been blessed with a new life, sleeping right there beside them, while you read this! For all the mothers who are expecting to deliver their child soon, and are definitely the proactive ones to go ahead and research way ahead of time, all the best for you! The experience of pregnancy does not only revolve around the nine months of carrying the child in the womb, which you have already realised. This beautiful but also one of the most (physically) important phase of your life revolves around 18 to 20 months of your life- 9 during the pregnancy and a period of 9 to 12 months post the pregnancy.This is essentially called as the Postpartum Period. In Asian countries particularly South Asian including India, the women after delivery of the child are kept little away from their normal home and fed with kind of medicinal food and rest, however, poor they may be. Food in India for these women are nutrient enough to increase their breast milk.
The period of delivering the child are painful, especially for a normal delivery. What follows is also equally important and needs to be dealt with extreme care. This can be noted along with the fact, that, in many countries of Europe and in the American continent, a long period of vacation with salary is being given to the mothers after delivery.
1Postpartum- The Period of Excessive Bleeding!
A postpartum period or postnatal period is the period beginning immediately after the mother delivers the child and extends for as long as six weeks. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the postnatal period is the most critical and yet the most neglected phase in the lives of mothers and babies; most deaths occur during the postnatal period. The body secreted “Lochia” which is postpartum vaginal discharge, containing blood, mucus, and uterine tissue.
2The Healing of a New Mother!
One of the most perceptible changes that a new mother experience is a return of the uterus to normal, called involution during the postpartum period. You will feel the changes in the uterus as cramps, commonly called after-pains.
Not only will the uterus see changes during the postpartum period, you will also see the changes as your abdomen gets smaller. The discharge, called lochia, can also be painful at times. Amidst all these changes that your body will experience in a very short time, along with the additional responsibilities and attention that your newborn will require. It is necessary for a new mother to take utmost care of the healing of the body. If the healthcare and medicare are not full, the mother is vulnerable to get exposed to anaemic conditions which will affect similarly the newborn also.
We definitely advise and encourage to continue with the regular visits to your gynecologist and physician in this postpartum period, we have listed this article to give you a background to things that may be coming your way and how to deal with these changes.
3Healing the Body During Postpartum!
- You need to use slow relaxed breathing and massage/ if pains are more during the postpartum period. If these measures do not help, take the over-the-counter pain medication recommended by your physician. Remember that these after pains show that involution and healing are progressing, and this is a good sign.
- In order to avoid infection with an episiotomy incision, always use a clean sanitary pad, at least, every four to six hours. Always remember to remove the pad from front to back to avoid dragging bacteria from the rectum to the vagina.
- Cleanse the perineum after urinating or a bowel movement by pouring warm water over the area and patting dry with gauze pads. Always wipe from front to back while doing this process.
- It is very important to eat a healthy diet to support the healing process during postpartum. Include enough protein, vitamins, and large amounts of fluids. This, in any case, does not advise the mother to consume more food or excess food, which will bring in some other complications.
- Do not resume sexual intercourse until the lochia has disappeared and the episiotomy site has healed especially during postpartum. But emotional understanding acts and behaviour with your loving spouse is of great mental strength.
- The most important element to the healing process is proper rest. Try to stay in bed or on the sofa for the first week after giving birth. Avoid to get involved in a lot of household chores too quickly despite you may feel sound in health.
- Taking care of your body and your child should be your only priority.
4Healing the Mind!
- Make a habit to sleep when the baby sleeps. The initial few weeks will be very difficult as there will be heavy loss of sleep, due to uneven sleeping schedules of the child. Gradually, as you regain your strength, you’ll be able to stay awake longer.
- Your child loves to watch you do the chores. The more you talk to them the happier they feel. So interact with your child and do the chores that you can.
- Go out for a walk around the block. It is healthy for you to take the sunshine and fresh air, it will help you heal better.
- Do not spend most of your energy in cleaning the house. Make sure you focus on the clutter control- do not leave things lying around that may hurt you or your child.
- Take care of the simple things in your daily life and keep a healthy and open mind to multiple surprises that having a newborn baby will bring in your life. Melody songs and light instrumental music are of soothing touch to a mother.
5A few Watch Outs!
- Body temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit that lasts for more than one day.
- Bright red or heavy bleeding (lochia) after the fourth day postpartum, or very large blood clots in the lochia.
- Lochia that has a foul odour. Normal lochia should have a slight musty smell, very much like normal menstrual bleeding.
- Pain in the lower abdominal area after the first few days after birth.
- Signs of infection (redness, heat, swelling, an oozing discharge) at the site of the episiotomy or caesarean incision.
As much as the post pregnancy phase of your life will bring you painful surprises, it will also bring you beautiful memories. The memories of holding your child, watching your child to sleep peacefully, your child clutching your finger for the first time, the endless cries and then the beautiful smile on that little one’s face. Amidst all the pain and changes do not miss out on these little things. Enjoy your post pregnancy period as much as you have enjoyed your pregnancy.