A Word About Postpartum Recovery and Healing

May 29, 2009

The 1st of April was a day of joy. It was on that day that my baby nephew was born to make their family complete. His four year old sister’s eyes twinkled at this new bundle of excitement as the nurse kept him on her lap for the first time. He shrieked at the smell and the coarse touch of his sister while the elders were relieved that delivery was smooth without any complications. It is still not over for the mother. She has her Postpartum Period. But the mother in her youth and spirit did not heed to the advice of her elders and started walking around and doing minor chores. It is then that she developed a certain pain in her thighs and joints. The doctor, at first, mistook it for swollen lymph nodes and gave her medications. And on the third day, it was confirmed to be Deep Vein Thrombosis. She had to be admitted for a week in the hospital.

2milk The Postpartum period refers to the first few weeks after childbirth. It is the time when the mother’s body tries to get adjusted to the situation of not being pregnant. Apart from the bliss and excitement, the mother may also go through a lot of mental stress and depression too. Some mothers develop psychological disorders along with physical pain and discomfort. She may have bleeding up to six weeks because of the tear in the uterus (episiotomy), have sore breasts and those who had a cesarean may have to give a longer time for healing. The uterus painfully shrinks back to the normal position in the two months after delivery. The mother may have sore muscles and pain in her arms and legs. she hardly gets proper rest at night and her attitude towards her partner also undergoes some change. She may get swollen feet and legs, difficulty in urination, constipation or hemorrhoids and gain weight. Special care should be taken to avoid postpartum complications like Puerperal mastitis, UTI, Haemorrhage, Thromboembolic disease and the like.

Take Care of Yourself After Delivery

  1. Take complete bed Rest for the first week. Get up only on emergency.
  2. Avoid visitors and ensure help from your spouse or parent to get things done, both for you and your baby.
  3. Eat well. A protein rich food with vitamin c would help with recovery and healing. If you are breastfeeding, ask your doctor on how much water intake you should have.
  4. Take cold or hot compresses. Sore and tender breasts can be eased with a cold compress. So does the vaginal pain.
  5. If you have painful urination use water liberally before and as you urinate.
  6. A tea brewed with equal parts of raspberry leaves, nettle, yarrow flowers and squaw vine is said to heal episiotomy. Avoid tampons and use pads.
  7. Kegel exercises should work for Incontinence.
  8. Eating fiber-rich fruits and vegetables can get rid of constipation.
  9. Use lavender oil and tea tree oil in sitz bath to heal the vagina. Applying witch hazel may also help. Always ask the suggestion of your doctor.
  10. Keep your legs elevated to help with inflammation.
  11. If you notice a weight gain, ask your doctor for advice. Do not start a diet plan immediately after childbirth. Wait for 2-3 months before slimming down.
  12. Sleep when your baby does!
  13. If you feel emotionally drained speak out to your spouse or a loved one. Remember that it is not you or your pregnancy but your hormones that are the culprits. So take it easy on yourself!

Take a natural remedy to support health of the reproductive organs (uterus, birth canal  and perineum) after birth and for a fast return to pre-pregnancy conditions.

-Aparna K V

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