Postpartum repair is an issue that needs attention from before pregnancy, and yes, it needs to start before pregnancy. Pregnancy and childbirth are devastating to the mother's body, and it is the entire body's function and condition that needs to be repaired after delivery. Therefore, when preparing for pregnancy, we need to adjust our bodies to meet the stable "occupation" of the baby. At the same time, we also need to strengthen our bodies to face the coming silent destruction.
So what exactly has been destroyed? After giving birth, don't they still look like they still have two eyes and one nose? Some people can still jump around immediately after giving birth. Is there any damage?
Of course, there is! For example, the embryo changes from the size of a soybean to the size of a watermelon, and along with this, the shape of the uterus changes. The internal organs and muscles of the mother to make way for them. During this stage, the rectus abdominis is stretched, enlarged, or even broken, thereby forming stretch marks; organs such as the stomach and intestines are squeezed from the uterus to every edge of the body, and need to slowly return to where it should be; after birth, the uterus should retract from the size of a watermelon to the size of a fist and return to the pelvic cavity; in order to meet the production process, the body gradually relaxes the cervix so that the baby can be delivered smoothly, resulting in relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles; not to mention the tearing of the pelvic floor muscles or the lateral incision wound caused by the oversized baby, or the cutting of 7 layers of the body caused by the cesarean section.
Because the damage occurs out of sight and is more likely to be overlooked, postpartum restoration requires even more care.
The damage to the body is not instantaneous, so it is important to have some patience in repairing it. It is generally recommended to take at least 6 weeks for postpartum repair. After 6 weeks, you can go to the hospital for a 6-week postpartum physical examination, which includes the recovery of body wounds, whether your mental state is good, and whether you need any help.
Note that during these 6 weeks, please pay more attention to your own health. I know your baby is cute and fragile and needs a lot of attention, but you are also very weak. So please get enough nutrients, drink lots of water and try to sleep as much as you can (although this is hard, see our tips for sleeping well here). Only by taking good care of yourself can you have the physical strength to take better care of your children in the future.
During this 6-week period, you need to focus on the following.
The uterus is still the size of a balloon after delivery, and to return to the size of a fist, it needs to keep contracting. The contraction is often accompanied by pain. If you are breastfeeding, this kind of pain feels will be more frequent. This is because nipple stimulation causes uterine contractions, which is one of the reasons we advocate breastfeeding, as it helps with postpartum recovery. Generally, the pain is bearable, but if you find it unbearable or unbearable with time, please consult your doctor. During your 6-week physical exam, your doctor will check to see if your uterus has retracted to its normal size.
Vaginal bleeding and discharge (lochia):
These reddish fluids, like your normal period, are extra blood and tissue your body prepares to nourish your baby, and will gradually change from red to pink, tan and colorless over time. Lochia can last up to six weeks or more, and you can use sanitary napkins for hygiene and cleanliness. Please do not use tampons, as they may lead to infection.
Most vaginal births will cause a tear or side cut because the baby's head is too large. The doctor will make a cut at the vaginal opening and anus to help the baby deliver smoothly. After six weeks, the tear or side cut wound will heal gradually, and the healing process may be accompanied by tears. There are several ways you can help ease the discomfort:
- After urinating, wash the perineum with warm water to prevent urine from irritating the wound.
- Take a sitz bath in lukewarm or cold water (if you find cold water more comfortable) for about 20 minutes, with the water deep enough to cover the buttocks.
- Sitting on a doughnut-style cushion.
- Sitting on an ice pack for 10 minutes every few hours, with better results after going to the bathroom.
- If you are using a sandwich cushion, remember to coat it with witch hazel.
- Take painkillers.
C-section wound healing:
The stitches on the skin will heal in 5-10 days, but the stitches on the underside of the muscle will take longer to heal. During this time follow your doctor's instructions and clean the cesarean incision properly every day and then apply antibiotic ointment. You can discuss with your doctor whether to cover the wound or leave it open for ventilation. Keep an eye on the wound for redness, swelling or pus, or fever.
Going to the toilet:
This refers to urinary disorders, leakage, constipation, hemorrhoids, and a host of other problems related to going to the toilet. If you had a vaginal birth and were unlucky enough to have a tear or a lateral incision, you will have some problems with urination or bowel movements, and will be afraid to strain for fear of chipping the wound. If you have an anesthetic used during the procedure, it may also cause constipation. In either case, take it easy, don't force yourself to have a bowel movement, eat fiber-rich foods daily, drink plenty of water, and use a gentle stool softener to help with bowel movements, if necessary, consult your OP or midwife for details. Some women experience urine leakage due to stretching or damaging the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and vaginal birth, whether it is severe or not, try Kegel exercises. Do 10-15 times in a row, and 3 times a day.
Breast and nipple pain:
Mothers who decide to breastfeed will experience physiological pain for 3-5 days after delivery. The whole breast is like a stone, dull and aching, and this pain cannot be relieved by pain medication and can only be endured by yourself. But don't worry, after 1-2 days, your breasts will become soft again and you can produce nutritious milk to feed your baby. When trying to breastfeed for the first time, the nipple may be chapped due to incorrect latching position or sucking too hard. In this case, you can smear some milk on the nipple after feeding or apply lanolin cream to help recovery. You can clean the nipple before feeding. Your breasts will get used to breastfeeding within half a month to a month and the pain will disappear naturally. In addition, milk blockage may occur during continuous breastfeeding and may even lead to mastitis and fever. To prevent this, you'd better pay attention to a light diet, avoid blockage caused by greasy diet, and massage your breasts frequently, If you feel a lump in the breast, please massage to unblock it, or seek help from midwife.
Postpartum mood changes:
After childbirth, maternal hormones drop suddenly, and mothers will experience a period of frequent mood swings. You may find that tears come out most easily, and tears may flow when talking aboutsad topics. Some people have anxiety (worried about not being able to take care of the baby) or have trouble sleeping. If you experience extreme sadness, trouble sleeping, lack of joy in being a mother, and changes in your eating habits, you may be suffering from postpartum depression. About 1 in 8 new mothers will suffer from postpartum depression, which doesn't mean you're a bad mom, it just means your hormones are out of control. Treatment, medication, and self-care can help you out. If you are prone to harming yourself or your baby, contact your doctor immediately.
The concerns listed above are a few of the most common conditions that arise during recovery, which can sound a bit intimidating and may even make you not want to get pregnant. We understand all of this, but the purpose of writing this article is not to scare you, but to share our experience while letting you know a little more about what you might encounter and then be well prepared.
Wish everyone who wishes to have a baby to have their little angel.