The postpartum period begins immediately after birth and extends for approximately six weeks. It is the time after delivery in which the mother’s body, including hormone levels and uterus size, returns to a non-pregnant state. Your cervix will gradually shrink back down to its prepregnant size. The vagina will regain some of its tone with exercise and time. The labia will remain somewhat looser, larger and darker than before pregnancy. Your abdominal muscles will feel soft and loose. In about six weeks you will begin to notice the muscle tone returning. Exercise can speed up this process. If you experience stretch marks, they will begin to fade. If you had an increase in skin pigmentation, it will fade also. There will be a gradual reversal of any increase in hair growth.
Some of these changes to your body will persist despite your best efforts to recover from the natural effects of childbirth. Many of the services we now provide at Neuva aesthetics are designed to improve and reverse these changes. Information regarding these revolutionary, effective and safe treatments is available on this website.
“Lochia” is postpartum vaginal discharge, containing blood, mucus, and uterine tissue. It usually starts out quite bloody for the first few days, but changes in color and consistency with a decrease in flow over the following weeks.
“Afterpains” can occur immediately following delivery and can last for weeks. They are caused by the uterus as it contracts down to normal size. They are more noticeable during breastfeeding and more common if you have had other pregnancies. They generally decrease over time.
During pregnancy, your blood system had a larger than normal blood volume to accommodate your baby’s needs. After delivery, this is no longer needed. For the first few days after delivery, you will urinate larger quantities, and you may perspire more than normal. You may also notice that the swelling in your extremities may increase over the first week after delivery until this excess fluid gets reabsorbed and eliminated through the urine.
- If you had an episiotomy or perineal tear that was repaired, you will have stitches which will dissolve over a period of time. Usually, it takes approximately 6 weeks to heal. It is essential that you keep this area as clean as possible. Showers and baths are both acceptable.
- After urination, you should rinse your perineal area with warm water and pat dry. Always wipe from front to back with a bowel movement.
- To relieve swelling and soreness take warm soaking baths or use your sitz bath at least twice a day for 20 minutes the first two weeks after delivery.
- KEGEL exercises (periodic tightening of your vagina) will increase tone and decrease swelling.
- Avoid constipation by increasing your fluid intake (at least 6-8 glasses of fluid per day), eating a well-balanced diet with increased amounts of fiber from whole grains, fruits, vegetables and taking OTC stool softeners.
- Tucks pads or Anusol HC cream for comfort (these will also help hemorrhoid symptoms).
Postpartum follow-up visit:
Vaginal uncomplicated delivery = 4-week visit
Cesarean Section or complicated delivery (like preeclampsia) = 1 week & 4-week visits
It is recommended to wait until after your four-week check-up to resume sexual intercourse. The timing is an individualized decision that should be postponed until there is no significant tenderness or discomfort present.
Your pediatrician will perform this procedure if you choose to have it done. The pediatrician will tell you when it will be done, where it will be done and how to care for the circumcision following the procedure.