As a mother, your newborn child’s well-being is your first priority. That’s good and natural. But pregnancy and vaginal delivery can cause more changes in your body than you realize. Unless you get the postpartum care you need, you are not going to be able to care for your baby the way you should and the way you want to. There are a number of common problems you may face. Here are some of them:
- Vaginal Tearing. This is the result of an episiotomy or tearing during the delivery. Unless properly treated, this can take a long time to heal and in the meanwhile you could experience a variety of painful and uncomfortable symptoms including issues when sitting, urinating, difficult bowel movements and so on.
- Vaginal discharge is normal after delivery. It normally lasts for a few weeks and then slowly tapers off. If it does not and the bleeding continues, has an unpleasant odor or you have a persistent temperature of over 100 degrees, you need to be checked by your doctor. Proper postpartum care will spot these problems early so that treatment is begun immediately.
- Urination problems. Swelling and bruising of the tissue around the bladder and the urethra is common after delivery. This can cause difficulty in urinating or cause it to be very painful. The urine can also cause a sharp stinging sensation if it comes into contact with tender perineal tissue. These problems usually resolve themselves but if the pain or difficulty is excessive to the extent that you are unable to pass urine properly, consult your doctor without delay. Birth related stretching of the tissue at the base of the bladder can affect the nerves and muscles and result in incontinence. This is another problem that will usually correct itself, but if it continues, see your doctor.
- Contractions. Contractions that resemble menstrual cramps are normal for a few days after delivery. These help to compress blood vessels in the uterus and prevent excessive bleeding. However, if there is also fever or the abdomen is tender and painful when touched, it could be a sign of a uterus infection that should be checked by your doctor, immediately.
- Mood swings. The hormonal changes, the body undergoes during childbirth can lead to sudden mood swings that vary in intensity. These are normal and typically subside after a couple of weeks. If talking to loved ones does not help and if the mood swings become worse or darker, contact your doctor without delay. The sooner this is treated the better.
Childbirth is the most natural act – it has been going on literally since the evolution of civilization. That does not mean that there are no unpleasant side effects or discomfort that could arise from it. When modern medical care has ways to reduce or even completely eliminate these problems, taking advantage of it would be to your benefit and the infant’s benefit. Your health and your ability to care for your baby depend on it. Speak to your obstetrician to learn more about postpartum care and why it is so important.