Proper care of your body after delivering your new baby is essential to make sure that your body heals thoroughly and efficiently. This is to avoid other complication or health issues down the line. A good after delivery care routine should include the whole body while still giving focus on the labour areas such as the perineum area or the c-sec incision area.
What Happens After Delivery?
Your body will automatically begin to revert your body back pre-pregnancy condition. It will take some time but gradually you can see and feel the changes. Your uterus will begin to shrink and discard all the leftover blood and and tissue while your breast will work harder to provide breastmilk for your baby. Muscles that stretches will heal. You could say that your body is working twice as hard in making sure everything returns to the way it was.
Which is why not caring for your body after delivery can lead to complications. According to a study, even low-risk birth has a chance of developing life-threatening conditions without proper postpartum care.
Here are some issues that mothers may experience due to hormonal or physical changes that the body goes through in order to revert back to normal.
Common Issues After Delivery
Pelvic Floor Changes
If you go through normal birth or vaginal birth, there is a chance where your perineum may tear or the doctor may make a cut during the delivery of your baby. This may caused some discomfort during the healing process.
Note: Perineum is the area between your vagina and rectum.
If you are not a heavy sweater and find yourself sweating more than usual after delivery, it may not be the weather. Hormonal changes in your body can cause you to sweat more than before especially at night.
Vaginal discharges are expected after delivery. Blood and tissues will be flushed out of your body as your uterus shrinks back to pre-pregnancy size. If you are used to using tampon for your periods, it is best to avoid it for postpartum bleeding. Using tampons during this time may lead to uterine infection.
Together with vaginal discharge, you may expect some uterine pain. The pain is not severe and will subside after some time but if you find it difficult to withstand, you can ask your doctor for painkillers. The shrinking of your uterus is the main cause for uterine pain or cramps.
Note: Some painkillers are not safe to be taken for breastfeeding mothers
As your body prepares for the arrival of your baby, your breast has already begun producing milk. In fact, milk ducts is already developing as soon as week 6 of pregnancy. So, it is no surprise that once your baby is out of the oven, your breast is also ready to let the milk flow. Some mothers may have already experienced breastmilk leaking in the second trimester!
Because of that, breast engorgement is very common during postpartum period. The severity of breast engorgement pain ranges from mild to excruciating. One way to relieve breast engorgement is through either feeding your baby, or pumping your milk.
Note: The first few millilitres of breastmilk are called colostrum and is heavily-packed with nutrition and protection. It is your body’s special recipe to prepare your baby for the first time out of the womb. So save ’em don’t waste ’em!
Constipation is an issue that you really wish you don’t have to deal with. Lack of water and fibre in your diet, routine changes, some medications, and also reduced movements or excising can cause constipation. Postpartum constipation in the other hand may be caused by hormones, swollen veins in your lower rectum, a surgical cut to your perineum site, or a rectum muscle damage caused by the delivery.
Normal Delivery Perineal Care
Caring for your perineal area after a normal delivery is one of the important part of your recovery process.
1.Don’t Stand or Sit Too Long
Standing or sitting too long after a vaginal birth may be uncomfortable for you.
Make sure you wear something that is breathable and comfortable. Especially on the bottom half of your body. Avoid clothing that is tight. It will put unnecessary pressure on your perineal area and may even make you feel pain and discomfort.
3.Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic Floor Exercises are good to strengthen your pelvic muscles. A strong pelvic muscle can reduce the chances of miscarriage for future pregnancy. Doing pelvic floor exercises can also prevent pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence which are common issues after vaginal childbirth. This exercise can help to fasten the healing process.
Note: Pelvic organ prolapse is when organs within the pelvic group like the uterus, bowel, bladder or top of the vagina slip down from the original position.
You can use icepack or cold compressions to soothe your perineal area. Be sure to wrap it with towel or cloth and not place it directly. Leave it for 10 to 20 minutes and repeat hourly for the first 24 hours after delivery.
After delivery you may want to drink about 2 litres of water everyday. Staying hydrated is key for your bladder and bowel care, and is especially important if you are breastfeeding your baby. Dehydration is one of the cause of constipation.
How To Do Pelvic Floor Exercise?
Pelvic Floor Exercise can be done at any time and anywhere. It doesn’t require anything, you can even do it while lying down. It can even be done after your delivery. You can do two type of pelvic floor exercise;
- Contract your pelvic floor muscle (It feels like you are holding in your urine or gas) for about 10 seconds.
- Breathe normally while doing so.
- Release the contraction and repeat about 10 times.
If you find it hard to hold it until 10 seconds, you can stop. Continue doing the exercise and soon you will be able to reach 10 seconds.
- Contract your pelvic floor muscle but this time you don’t have to hold it.
- In an interval of 1 second, repeat doing it for about 10 to 15 times.
Caesarean Delivery Care
A c-sec surgery is categorized as a major surgery even though it is relatively safe. You will be given anesthetics before the surgery so it may take some time for you to start feeling anything around the bottom half of your body. Nausea and drowsiness can be expected too! Apart from getting a lot of rest during postpartum, here are some things that you can do to ensure that your c-sec wound is recovering thoroughly without any complications.
Incision Care Tips.
- Support your wound when sneezing, laughing or coughing by putting a hand or pillow and applying gentle pressure on the wound when it happen.
- Do not make body twisting movement when in bed.
- You can shower and gently pat the incision area dry.
What Can You Do To Aid The Healing Process?
1.Walking Is Good
Take brief walks with slow steady past everyday. You can start doing this as soon as you find strength in your lengths. Gradually over time you can increase the distance and speed of your walk. The aim is not to get sweaty and pumped but just enough to get some movement in your routine to get the blood flowing. Doing this can help to avoid blood clots and even constipation.
2.Do Not Lift Anything Heavy
Protect your back and avoid excessive pressure on the wound area. Steer clear from lifting anything that is heavier than your baby. That means you should lift things that are only about 2-3 kg max.
3.Warm Up Your Wound
Grab a towel and dip it in warm water or you can use electronic warm pillows or even a water bottle filled with warm water. Then place it on your the incision area for a few minutes. This is especially helpful to soothe the wound. Make sure the temperature is not too high that it hurts you.
4.Keep It Dry and Clean
Another good tip to make the incision scar heal faster is to make sure it is always dry and clean. Keeping it dry and clean always should be a priority after a c-sec delivery. This can prevent infections on the incision area.
Not just emotional support! Getting firm compression like belly wraps or girdle can offer some abdominal support which can help to reduce pain. However, we recommend not too much pressure on the wound itself. Adjust the wrap so it fits you comfortably.
After a few weeks of proper postpartum care, you can feel yourself rejuvenated with energy and ready to tackle the next phase of motherhood!