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They say that the most difficult part of pregnancy is over after delivering your baby. But they certainly forgot about the postpartum issues that a mother faces after giving birth. Most of the time, pregnancy is all about the baby and once the baby arrives, the family usually focuses more on the newborn, ignoring the mother. In fact, even the mother ignores herself as her motherly instincts take over in the joy of giving birth to the baby. In fact, this is the time, when you need to take care of yourself as much as your baby needs you.
Your body has literally gone through hell while giving birth to your baby. If you have had a vaginal delivery, your very basic actions such as sitting, peeing or even passing bowel may become a Herculean task.
Hours and hours of painful labour later, a baby squeezes through your tiny vagina and enters the world. This is the time when your vagina is completely expanded to its capacity and needs to be seriously brought back to shape.
If you have recently undergone a vaginal delivery, here is all you need to know about what to expect from your V-hole after a normal delivery.
What Can You Expect Immediately After Vaginal Birth?
If you have given birth in a hospital, chances are you are required to stay in for around 48 hours before discharge. While this may be a relatively easy period as you may have doctors and nurses to take care of you, the real struggle may begin when you finally reach home with your baby.
Here are a few things that you have to deal with after your vaginal delivery.
- Soreness and swelling
- Cramps/after-delivery contractions
- Infections such as endometritis and mastitis
- Weight loss
- Difficulty in peeing
Bleeding is the first thing to occur after delivery. It starts almost immediately after and may last up to six weeks. The heavy flow may last for a good five days, after which you may notice light bleeding. Initially, the colour of the discharge may be bright red and may move onto being brown and eventually pink. It is important to notify your doctor if you notice more bleeding even after a week and are passing big clots. The blood flow shouldn't be accompanied by a fever as it may be a sign of an infection.
2) Soreness and swelling-
Your vagina may be sore with all the pushing and the baby passing through it. The increase in blood flow may also result in swelling of the area. This may make you feel a little uncomfortable. The vaginal tissues undergo tearing, sometimes natural but can be done by the doctor too in order to make it easier for the baby to pass through it. These tissues often need stitches, which are the main cause of your discomfort as they may be itchy and sore. But they usually dissolve within 7-10 days, giving you some respite. You may use a soft pillow to sit on if you find it difficult to sit on anything else.
3) Cramps/after-delivery contractions-
If you thought you were done with contractions during delivery, there may just be more in store for you. After-delivery contractions help the uterus to shrink back to its normal size. While this isn't enough, you may also experience cramps while bleeding as your body tries to get rid of anything else that is left inside the uterus after delivery. As if you didn't already know, hot water packs will help you effectively manage the cramps and contractions after delivery too.
Constipation may be an ugly side effect of the medications that you may have received to manage labour pain. You may also find it difficult to pass stools after getting an episiotomy. While you may use natural remedies to get rid of constipation, if the problem persists, your doctor may prescribe stool softeners to make it easier for you until you recover fully.
5) Infections such as endometritis and mastitis-
Vaginal delivery affects the natural mix of bacteria in the vagina which may give way to infections such as endometritis. This is caused when the bacteria present in the vagina find a way to enter and uterus and result in inflammation of its walls. Vaginal delivery is said to increase the risk of endometritis. Breastfeeding your baby may also result in mastitis, an inflammation of the mammary gland, which is caused due to a blockage in the milk duct. It also sometimes involves an infection.
6) Weight loss-
You may lose about half of your baby weight within six weeks after pregnancy. But it is advised not to rush into getting into shape immediately after birth as it may affect your body's natural healing mechanism. Also, it is important to eat healthy in order to derive healthy milk for your breastfeeding baby.
7) Difficulty in peeing-
Vaginal delivery may damage the muscles and nerve in the vagina and around the bladder, making it difficult for you to pee. You may also feel a sharp pain every time you pass urine. Leaking of urine while coughing or laughing is common. While the stinging sensation can be managed by pouring cold water while urinating, you can tighten the muscles of the vagina by indulging in Kegel exercises.
Postpartum recovery is a very important process. You need to make sure you have a solid support system that helps manages your baby and nurse you back to good health. Above all, the constant love and support of your loved ones will help recover quickly and get you back to normal in no time.