What’s going on down there? Post-baby problems explained
So, once the baby is finally at home, it is common to have a whole new set of questions arise about the body and birth recovery. Many of these problems and questions are typical, and Dr. Eileen Morrison, an obstetrician and gynecologist with Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. offers her advice here:
It’s not unusual to have temporary poor bladder control after delivering a baby, whether you had a vaginal delivery or a C-section. You may even have blood in the urine for a few days. Don’t worry. It may take a few weeks to feel normal again. There is nothing to be done unless you later develop burning, severe urgency accompanied by blood in the urine. If symptoms do not get better or get suddenly worse, see your doctor to be sure you do not have an infection.
Along the same lines, bowel movements are sometimes delayed after delivery, but will not tear any stitches open when it comes. Give it time. Try to avoid straining, Use a stool softener (Colace) or a mild laxative (Miralax) if desired.
We usually recommend waiting six weeks postpartum before having intercourse again. This is why we examine women at the six week mark. This is a guideline to prevent infection and trauma to these sensitive tissues.
Some women, though, do need extra time, especially if there was a third to fourth degree tear (requiring more extensive repair). If she is breastfeeding, we also recommend a lubricant, as the vagina can be somewhat dry while breastfeeding. If it still hurts to have sex, wait a week before you try again or see your doctor for an evaluation.
It is very common for leg swelling to get worse after delivery before it gets better. Once the baby is out, there are lots of fluid shifts in the body. It can take the kidneys a little time to catch up and clear all that fluid that was in the uterus.
These are often aggravated by the pushing required for delivery. Over the counter remedies are all fine. This almost never needs a surgical approach to fix – they will get better on their own. Stay on stool softeners as needed.
This is obviously from the baby, but we advise women to nap when the baby is sleeping and get overnight help to feed the baby, if necessary. Sleep deprivation can worsen the “baby blues” or postpartum depression.
It’s important to know the signs of dangerously worsening depression. Any thought of hurting oneself or the baby, or a desire to abandon the baby should not be kept to oneself. It is a sign that the disease is taking over.
You will make colostrum at the time of delivery (good stuff for the baby), but your milk will not come in until day two to four after delivery. But it will come. If your baby is fussy, talk to your pediatrician to see if supplementation is necessary. Work with a lactation consultant while you are still in the hospital.
If you are still concerned about what you are experiencing, or if any of your symptoms become worse, please contact your physician.
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