Post Pregnancy

Post Pregnancy

Everything about the postpartum period — physical recovery to emotional well-being.

Childbirth can be challenging. Explore some postpartum care tips to replenish your mind, body, and soul as you wade through the challenges of the ‘fourth trimester.’

Welcoming a new life into the world significantly changes mothers, affecting them physically, emotionally, and hormonally. While the focus often centers on the newborn's welfare, it's crucial not to forget the essential need for complete care for mothers after pregnancy. Mothers need comprehensive and continuous healthcare during the postpartum period (1). Regardless of the type of delivery, every mother requires special attention and assistance during the delicate time after childbirth. This period starts shortly after giving birth and typically spans six to eight weeks, concluding as the mother's body almost entirely returns to its pre-pregnancy state. These weeks create the basis for lasting health and happiness for both the mother and her baby. This is a time of significant physical and emotional changes, and it is essential to have access to care that can help you recover and adjust to your new role. The postpartum phase involves you and your partner learning to nurture your newborn and adapt to your transformed family dynamic. Prioritizing self-care is essential for regaining your strength. Rest, nutritious meals, and assistance in the initial weeks are vital (2). Amidst the whirlwind of the first month with your newborn, it's natural to feel immense postpartum fatigue as you get involved in the baby’s care round the clock. It is important to take care of yourself after childbirth, both physically and mentally. There are many self-care practices that you can do to help you recover and feel your best (3).

The toll that childbirth takes on a woman's body is undeniable, making it crucial to pay careful attention to the physical recovery process for new mothers. Regardless of how a baby is delivered, mothers undergo bodily changes that demand time and proper care to fully heal. Giving birth is a challenging endeavor, and chances are you didn't get much sleep during your hospital stay. The initial weeks after childbirth are a vital period for you to rest whenever possible. Take advantage of your baby's sleep time to rest and recover. You don't have to entertain guests if you don't feel up to it. Feel free to excuse yourself to take a nap or tend to your baby. Additionally, if you have had a cesarean section delivery, you should avoid lifting any object that's heavier than your baby (3). Rest is essential, and a nourishing post-pregnancy diet aids in this process. Your recovery and breastfeeding journey is smoothened by the weight that you have gained during pregnancy by building energy stores. According to lactation experts, breastfeeding mothers eat when they are hungry, but it is also important to make sure that they are eating balanced meals. Sometimes, mothers may accidentally skip meals due to tiredness or being busy with their babies. But, remember to plan them beforehand and make simple and healthy meals that include different food categories like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein (2).

Mothers face a complex journey after childbirth, and there are certain warning signs that should not be ignored. No matter how the baby is born, these problems need quick medical help and care. One important worry is postpartum depression and transient depression (baby blues). It's a real and serious condition that can affect any mother, no matter how the baby is delivered. It's okay to feel a bit down or not fully connected to your baby right after giving birth – that's common in the first week. In most cases, a mother's mood and energy levels will start to improve within two weeks of childbirth. However, if she is still feeling down, overwhelmed, or having thoughts of harming herself or the baby after two weeks, it is important to seek medical help right away (1). It is also normal for mothers to have a vaginal discharge called lochia during the weeks after childbirth. It resembles your period, but it gradually changes to pink, then to pale white or yellow discharge postpartum. Also, many mothers may experience stress incontinence because the muscles in their pelvic floor were stretched or injured during labor. Certain factors, such as being overweight or obese, having multiple pregnancies, breastfeeding for a long time, smoking, and using forceps during delivery, can increase the chances of experiencing urinary incontinence within three months of childbirth. It is common for women to have a decreased interest in intimacy after having a baby. This is because it may take about a year for their estrogen levels to return to their pre-pregnancy state. Alterations in your body, fatigue, and concerns about another pregnancy can also affect your yearning for closeness (4). Some mothers face breastfeeding concerns, but getting enough support and guidance from professionals to address issues like latching problems and low milk supply can help manage both the mother's and baby's health. The list of worries after giving birth might feel like a lot but don't worry, and keep in touch with your doctor. Even if you think it's normal, let your healthcare provider know about any discomfort for the best care. Motherhood brings new experiences, and understanding these common conditions can lower your stress while you care for your baby. You can explore our articles with trustworthy information to make your journey smoother.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How to get rid of postpartum swelling?

    To reduce postpartum swelling, you can take sitz baths for a few days. Sitz baths include sitting in cold water in a way that it cover the buttocks and hips. Then, you can continue this with warm water. Ice, chilled witch hazel pads, local anesthetic sprays, and anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can also be of help (5).

  • Is it safe to exercise during the post-pregnancy period to manage weight and body image concerns?

    A normal delivery indicates you can start your exercise routine soon you have had your baby. However, in case of complications or cesarean section, it is advised to consult your doctor before starting your post-pregnancy workout. Walking and yoga are some starter exercises you can begin with to manage weight and feel better (6).

  • What is diastasis recti?

    Diastasis recti is a common phenomenon in postpartum mothers where their rectus abdominis muscles get separated. This makes the post-pregnancy belly bulge out for months or years (7).

  • Is it normal to experience hair loss after pregnancy?

    Yes, it is a normal and temporary part of pregnancy. Visible hair loss is usually seen in mothers three months after post-childbirth. However, it can last up to six months and most women see hair growing back to its original fullness (8).

  • Is it safe to use birth control methods while breastfeeding?

    Birth control methods like intrauterine devices, cervical caps, and condoms are not known to reduce the breast milk supply. However, hormonal contraceptives are believed to decrease the milk supply. Therefore, it is recommended to start using them after four to six weeks postpartum and consult a doctor before starting (9).

  • How long will I bleed postpartum?

    After childbirth, it is normal for women to experience lochia, a combination of postpartum bleeding and vaginal discharge, for up to six weeks. However, in some cases, it may last until eight weeks (10).

  • How long do postpartum contractions last?

    Usually, a cramp lasting no longer than five minutes and which comes and goes is considered to be normal. It lasts a few days after childbirth. However, a cramp that is steady and felt strongly is believed to be concerning (5) (11).

  • How long do postpartum sweats last?

    Postpartum sweating is normal and is believed to be at its worst at two weeks post-childbirth. After this, there is a gradual decline in the intensity (12).