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Mother’s Day 2021: Common Health Issues Affecting New Mothers

Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May every year - by the majority of the countries around the world. While the dates vary every year, Mother's Day 2021 is celebrated on 9 May.

The day honours motherhood and maternal binds, celebrating the role mothers play in society. It is believed that the modern Mother's Day celebration first began in the US and was founded by Anna Jarvis [1].

In this article, on a day that celebrates mothers around the world, we will look into some of the most common health issues that affect new mothers.


Common Health Problems In New Mothers After Delivery

Pregnancy is a huge change for a woman's body and after delivery, the female body is prone to the risk of developing several health problems, which usually get looked over while monitoring a baby's feeding or sleep schedule, growth milestones and so on.

The postpartum health care of a mother is of utter importance as the post-pregnancy health changes moms experience can sometimes be overwhelming. Physical and mental health changes are normal postpartum [2]. With proper attention and medical care, these health issues can either be prevented or treated.

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1. Postpartum Depression

A new mother is at increased risk of depression after giving birth. According to studies, postpartum depression affects as many as one in five mothers [3]. Certain changes and shifts in your appearance and the ‘pressure' of being a new mother may cause clinical depression in new mothers that sometimes require expert medical attention [4].

Most new mothers experience postpartum after childbirth, which commonly includes mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Rarely, an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis also may develop after childbirth [5].

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2. Postpartum Hair Loss

Another common problem reported in new mothers, this condition is termed as telogen effluvium [6]. It is relatively common and is temporary. Normally, the hair loss can stop by the time your kids become one year old [7]. Hormones are the biggest reason for your pregnancy hair changes and postpartum hair loss [8].


3. Urinary Incontinence

It is common for six months or longer post-delivery [9]. Postpartum urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine, which occur while laughing, sneezing, coughing, or performing any strenuous activity [10]. Pelvic‑floor physical therapy can help overcome this condition by strengthening your pelvic muscles [11].


4. Changes in Sexual Health

New mothers can face issues with their sex drive, which is also linked to factors such as hormonal balance, a healthy mental disposition and a healthy relationship with the partner [12]. Breastfeeding can cause low libido and painful sex [13]. For a woman who has had a vaginal delivery may experience sensations like urine leakage as well, which all contribute towards decreased sex drive in new mothers [14]. Hypoactive sexual desire dysfunction (HSDD) is one of the most common sex-health related issues reported in new mothers [15].


5. Back Pain

Whether you have a C-section or a normal delivery, the epidural will cause back pain for at least 6 months after childbirth [16]. You can slowly recover from this by doing regular exercises that are aimed at new mothers.

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6. Gallstones

During pregnancy, the hormone progesterone is secreted in large amounts, which blocks the secretion of bile juices. This, in turn, leads to the formation of stones in the gall bladder, making gallstones one of the most common health problems reported in new mothers [17][18].

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7. Breast Pain (Mastitis)

One of the common health problems reported in new mothers is breast pain [19]. The pain develops mostly due to mastitis, a common breast infection that causes pain and fever. Mastitis causes the breasts to become swollen, lumpy, hard or painful [20]. If you have mastitis, you have to stop feeding your baby and seek medical care. Mastitis can be cured with the help of antibiotics [21].

In other cases, breast pain can also occur as your body will be figuring out how much milk it needs to produce. A new mother can apply a warm compress prior to breastfeeding to help the milk flow and ice packs between feedings [22].


On A Final Note…

There are a lot of new health issues and life changes that impact new mothers post-delivery, but being knowledgeable about what to expect can help in a long way. Make sure you have the medical support you need and as for help from your loved ones. Being a mother is not an easy job - Happy Mother's Day to all the wonder(ful) women out there.