After giving birth to your child you will feel a lot of emotions, and some moms may feel like jumping right out of the bed and care for their newborn, or move around excitedly like others. Sharing all such feelings with your family and friends will let your emotions out, and writing them down in your journal will help you keep the memory alive. It is important for the new mom to observe and care for what she is feeling and letting it out, as it would help in easing the signs of developing postpartum depression.
After a Normal / Vaginal Delivery
A new mom, who has just undergone a vaginal delivery, has gone through a lot of pain and effort to bring the baby to the world. This effort and the strain that the mother’s body has gone through, asks for rest and recovery.
A new mom may have a red and swollen face because of the physical strain during labor and delivery. Some mothers may also develop marks or redness around the eyes. Moms don’t need to worry, as they will recover and look normal in a few days.
Episiotomy (clean cuts made during delivery at perineal area under the effect of an anesthetic, and are closed with dissolvable stitches after the delivery) and general stress on the perineal area can lead to pain in perineal area after delivery. This pain persists for about a day or two and subsides in about a week. Taking care of cleanliness is important to prevent infections in the healing stitches.
After a C-Sec
Moms who underwent a caesarian section delivery are commonly given a local or general anesthesia during the operation. After the delivery, moms feel pain in the stitches, and find difficulty in movement near the abdomen. Some pain relief medications are prescribed, and fluid intake (water, tea, milk, clear soup etc) is generally advised.
The doctors also advise to start walking about slowly within 24-48 hours. This is helpful in faster healing of stitches and prevents blood clotting inside the veins. Walking also promotes fluid circulation in the body and eases the first bowel after delivery.
The duration of your stay at the hospital is longer than those who deliver normally (about 4-6 days), so bringing some interesting magazines, parenting books or a laptop would help you keep yourself occupied.
Blood discharge, also known as lochia discharge from the vagina after delivery is completely normal and essential. The discharge lasts for 4-5 weeks, and is bright red with few clots at first, and slowly becomes dull and slower towards the end of the first month postpartum.
Most new moms feel that they still look pregnant after the delivery! The uterus takes its own time (about 6 weeks) to go back to the size of your fist, after growing considerably in the past weeks. So, don’t be disheartened and try to relax your mind and body for the first few weeks. Let the first 6 weeks pass before beginning any exercises.
Postpartum Bowel and Urination
A small, flexible tube is inserted into the urethra (catheterization), to help emptying of the bladder after vaginal delivery, and in case of C-Sec, it is inserted before the operation begins. This may be removed after a day or two. After removal of the tube, there may be initial discomfort (in some cases a bearable pain) in passing urine which may persist for a day. If a burning sensation is felt while urinating, a doctor should be contacted to check the possibility of infection.
The doctor / nurse may ask you to attempt the first bowel after a day or two. Those who underwent episiotomy may feel more pain and discomfort (The stitches in the perineum are strong enough, and they cannot be damaged by small bodily strains). Taking enough fluids in diet relieves constipation and discomfort in bowel movement. Some women may not have a regular or normal bowel movement for a week or so, which is normal. It is important not to worry and give time to the body to recover.
- Pregnancy for Dummies by Joanne Stone, MD, Keith Eddleman, MD, and Mary Duenwald
- Expect the Best by Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.