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Your body after birth

 
It’s all over, you’ve given birth. But it will be a while before your body is back to normal.
Hilda Geyer

Pic: iStockphoto.com

Article originally in Parent24
It’s a relief to have your body to yourself again after the heaviness and discomfort of the last few weeks of pregnancy. But your body won’t snap back to normal within an hour. Expect at least a week or two of powerful emotional and physical adjustment.

Bleeding You will have heavy vaginal bleeding for several days – you will not be able to use tampons, but only huge maternity pads, the likes of which you have never seen before. If you are still passing clots after the first 2 days tell your doctor.

Breasts Your breasts may become heavy, swollen and tender as the milk begins to come in. If you struggle to feed your baby, ask at the clinic or hospital for a consultation with a lactation specialist.

Scrapes and tears After a vaginal birth you will have to keep your vaginal area and perineum (area between your vagina and anus) clean to prevent infection.

Toilet trouble After vaginal delivery you might have difficulty urinating as the muscles are sore and stretched. Bowel movements will also be difficult after vaginal delivery and a c-section. Placing a clean sanitary towel over stitches can give you confidence to relax and go. Using a laxative suppository can also help ease things along. Some women also experience incontinence of the bladder and bowel after a vaginal delivery – doing pelvic floor exercises can help restore things to normal. Pain from piles could be worse after labour as they are subjected to pressure when you push.

Contractions You will also experience afterbirth pains (contractions) as your uterus begins to return to its normal size. These are often most intense when you are breast-feeding.

Aches and pains You may also experience pain due to the C-section incision, or stitches in your perineum (between the vagina and anus) from a vaginal tear or episiotomy. You may get a headache if you had a epidural spinal block. You may have back pain hanging over from stresses and strains of labour.

Baby blues You might feel teary and depressed by day 3 – this is common-or-garden baby blues. If your baby blues don’t go away and persist for longer than one week and you have feelings that you can’t cope or bond with your baby, seek help as you may have Post Natal Depression (PND).

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