Six Health Issues to Check Up on During the Postpartum Days
By: Brook Chaplan
After giving birth, you’re focused on caring for your new baby and things can quickly become overwhelming. But it’s also important to keep your own health in mind during the first six to eight weeks of your child’s life. Here are some health issues you should be aware of, and prepare for during the postpartum period as you recover from birth and adjust to life as a new mother.
Regardless of whether you’ve had a vaginal birth or a C-section, your body will take some time to recover. Take any pain medication as prescribed by your doctor and follow other discharge instructions. Give yourself time to adjust, and be gentle with yourself as you recover.
Although your sleep will necessarily be disrupted, it’s important to rest as much as possible during the first few weeks as a parent. Avoid focusing on anything but caring for the baby and for yourself. Sleep when the baby sleeps, and consider introducing bottles if you’re breastfeeding, so you and your partner can share night feedings.
While most mothers experience a period of the “baby blues”, these feelings can develop into postpartum depression and become much more serious. Learn the signs of postpartum depression and if you begin to recognize them in yourself, get help immediately from your women’s health center and your home support system.
You can expect to experience bleeding like a period for much of the postpartum period. Call your doctor right away if you notice large clots or a strange odor, have extremely heavy bleeding, or develop a high fever (all signs of infection). The Western Branch Center for Women can consult with you to see if your body needs readjustments after labor and delivery.
It may take some time after birth before regular bowel movements return. As your body heals, take the stool softeners prescribed by your doctor. You should also drink lots of water and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other foods with high fiber content.
Eating a healthy diet is important to give your baby the nourishment they need if you are breastfeeding. It’s also key to keeping yourself healthy and returning to your optimal weight. Make sure you’re eating nutritious calories and keep wholesome snacks on hand so you can avoid skipping meals even when you’re low on sleep.
While your main focus is your baby during the postpartum period, taking care of yourself is also essential for the well-being of your entire family. Use these tips to stay healthy and strong as you grow into motherhood.