• Post-Natal Care: Do’s And Don’ts After Normal Delivery
  • Childbirth is one of the most difficult (but natural) processes that a woman’s body goes through. Many soon-to-be mothers do adequate research and preparation for pregnancy and delivery, but while this is important, it shouldn’t stop there. Knowing what to do (and what not to do), not just before and during, but also after delivery, is equally important.

    What to expect after normal delivery
    Your uterus will slowly contract back to its pre-pregnancy size during the first 2 to 6 weeks and will be accompanied by menstrual-like cramps. This doesn’t mean that your post-pregnancy tummy will also shrink back. The extra fat around your middle, your abdominal muscles, and the stretched skin will probably require more time and work to go back to its pre-pregnancy size.

    Expect to have 2 to 3 days of vaginal bleeding similar to when you have a heavy period. This should gradually decrease over the next weeks with the color changing from red to pink/brown. There may still be some spotting 4 to 6 weeks after delivery.

    You will experience vaginal soreness whether you had an episiotomy, a natural tear, or even if you did not have both. Expect this soreness to last anywhere from a day to a few weeks.

    Urinating and pooping may be difficult and painful.

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    Here is a helpful guide for what to do and what to avoid after having a normal delivery.

    DO’s
    1. Let your doctor or midwife know if you experience any sudden increase in bleeding or if the blood you are passing suddenly becomes bright red.

    2. Sit on a pillow or a padded ring.

    3. Place ice wrapped in a thin piece of cloth on your perineum for the first few days. This will help relieve the soreness.

    4. Shower every day to clean your perineum.

    5. Change your sanitary pad at least every 4 hours to lower the risk of infection.

    6. Move slowly and carefully. You don’t want your wound to accidentally open again.

    7. Get out of bed by rolling to your side before getting up.

    8. Lie down every few hours to relieve the pressure that is usually on your perineum when you are in a sitting or standing position.

    9. Draw in your pelvic floor when trying to get up from a sitting position or to sit down.

    10. Practice good posture by keeping your back straight. This also relieves the pressure on your perineum.

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    11. Try to urinate every 3 to 4 hours. You may pour warm water over your perineum while urinating.

    12. Lean forward when trying to poop. You may use a piece of clean tissue paper or sanitary napkin to press firmly but gently on your stitches while you are trying to poop.

    13. Try gentle pelvic floor exercises. This will help strengthen your pelvic muscles but remember not to strain and to just go for gentle holds and pushes during the first weeks.

    14. Drink lots of water. This will help soften your stool, making them easier to pass.

    15. Eat foods that are high in fiber. This will also ensure that your stool is soft and easy to pass.

    16. See your doctor at around 6 weeks after giving birth for your post-natal check.

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    Important: Call your doctor if you experience high fever, or if your wound or your discharge has a foul odor.


    DON’Ts
    1. Don’t go swimming until your bleeding has stopped. Swimming increases the chances of exposure to bacteria.

    2. Don’t use tampons until after you’ve seen your doctor for your post-natal check.

    3. Don’t make sudden movements.

    4. Don’t strain or lift/carry heavy objects.

    5. Don’t strain when trying to poop. The muscles you use for pooping are the same muscles that you overexerted during childbirth.  

    6. Don’t engage in high impact exercises and activities. No matter how quickly you want to get rid of the bulges in your tummy, your body needs time to recover, so the exercise will have to wait.

    7. Don’t wear clothes that are tight around your perineal area. Not only will these be uncomfortable, it also increases the risk of infection.

    8. Don’t have sex until after you’ve seen your doctor for your post-natal check.

    References:
    http://brochures.mater.org.au/brochures/mater-mothers-hospital/after-birth%E2%80%94care-of-the-new-mother
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/postpartum-care/art-20047233

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