Pregnancy and child birth put your body through a great deal of stress. Below is the continuation of what you can expect after delivery:
- Because your perineal area just went through a great deal of trauma, it is no surprise that most women are fearful of having their first bowel movement after child birth. Whether you have stitches from an episiotomy or a tear, or whether the area is just sore, you may find it difficult to have a bowel movement for a week or so after delivery. Taking a stool softener after delivery and for the next few days until you are able to have a successful bowel movement will prove to be very beneficial. Drinking plenty of water will also help.
- Many women go into delivery with hemorrhoids, and still many others will develop hemorrhoids from intense pushing during child birth. It is important to tell your doctor if you are suffering from hemorrhoid discomfort because they will only become more swollen and painful after delivery – especially if you are suffering from constipation. A topical treatment is usually successful in treating the discomfort, while taking a laxative can help you have a bowel movement without straining.
- Breast changes
- Whether you plan to breastfeed your new baby or not, having your milk come in is a natural response to giving birth. When your milk comes in, your breasts will feel large, very firm, and tender. Most women’s milk comes in 3-4 days after delivery, but it can take up to two weeks. If your breasts are extremely uncomfortable (especially in the morning when you wake up), hand expressing some milk in a warm shower, pumping, or feeding your baby right away will help to alleviate your discomfort.
- Emotional changes
- All of the other changes discussed so far have been physical changes, yet emotional changes must also be taken into consideration. There will be a huge fluctuation in your hormones in the weeks after delivery. These hormonal changes combined with the demands of a newborn baby, the lack of sleep, household responsibilities, as well as all of the physical changes that your body will encounter – all of these together will take their toll. It is not uncommon to shed some tears of exhaustion, fear, frustration, and happiness – all at the same time. “Baby blues” are common in women who have just given birth. However, if you feel that your emotional changes are severe, or that you have thoughts of hurting yourself, your new baby, or your older children, please contact your OB-GYN immediately. You may be suffering from postpartum depression, and intervention will be necessary.
At Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A., we are here for our patients throughout every step of delivery – including taking care of yourself afterwards. All women need to come in for a post-delivery appointment within six weeks of delivery for a checkup to make sure your body is healing properly after child birth. However, if you have any needs or concerns that arise before this appointment, please do not hesitate to call our office. We are sensitive to the needs of women, and pride ourselves in providing excellent care.