Your body has been through major changes in the last nine months, and it will take several months for you to return to your pre-pregnancy state. This information, along with advice from your provider and other healthcare professionals, will help you recover more quickly from the childbirth experience so you can enjoy being home with your new baby.
Sitz Bath—If you had a vaginal delivery and have episiotomy stitches or have had hemorrhoids, you will continue using your sitz bath at home at least twice a day for a week or longer. Use warm water in the sitz bath.
Peri Bottle—Use your peri bottle with warm water every time you use the bathroom for as long as your bleeding continues.
Other Peri-care Supplies
Your doctor may order other products if you need them after you deliver. Always wash your hands before and after use.
Epifoam—This product soothes the area and promotes healing. Apply a small amount to your fingers or a Tucks pad if you have those ordered. Put the foam directly on your stitches or hemorrhoids. You may use this product three or four times a day.
Tucks or witch hazel pads—Putting a pad over the stitches or hemorrhoids may help soothe the area.
Bleeding—You will experience vaginal bleeding called lochia over the next several weeks. For the first one to three days after your delivery, it will look like a period. It should be dark red, and it may have small clots. From Day 3 to Day 10, this flow turns to pink or brown. After 10 days, the flow should be white or pale yellow. You may experience bleeding for up to six weeks. You may pass clots. If you are soaking a pad every 30 minutes to an hour, you should call your doctor.
Uterus—Your uterus stretched to hold your infant and now needs to shrink back to a tight ball of muscle. Right after birth, the uterus is just below the belly button. Each day after your delivery, the uterus shrinks about one finger width. By the end of the second week, you should no longer be able to feel the top of your uterus through your belly.
Talk to your doctor before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications.
As many as half of all postpartum women experience some type of depression shortly after delivery. The depression varies in severity from mild to serious.
The baby blues occurs soon after the baby’s birth and lasts less than a week. During this time, you may cry easily or be very emotional, which may be related to a drop in hormone levels after delivery. About 80 percent of all
women who have children experience baby blues.
True postpartum depression occurs between one week and one year after the baby’s birth, but it is most likely to occur one week to six months postpartum. Around 10 percent of women suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety. Symptoms include anxiety, nervousness, panic, sadness, depression, poor concentration, uncontrollable crying, irritability, exhaustion and sluggishness.
Postpartum psychosis is the least common but the most severe type of postpartum depression. Symptoms are exaggerated and may include insomnia, hallucinations, agitation, and very unusual feelings and behavior.
What new moms can do to help relieve postpartum blues:
If you feel depressed for a long time, feel like you cannot take care of yourself or your baby, or think you might hurt yourself or your baby, get professional help at once.
Increase your fiber intake to prevent constipation.
Increase your protein intake to promote healing.
Calcium and iron also are necessary for postpartum women.
Breastfeeding mothers require an additional 500 calories each day. Try to consume as a minimum the following amounts:
You will continue your prenatal vitamins while you are nursing. Avoid gas-producing foods, carbonated drinks and drinking with straws (which increases air in the stomach) if you have had a C-section or a tubal ligation.
Exercising postpartum may help speed your recovery by improving circulation and building strength.
Good postpartum exercises include Kegel exercises, stationary cycling and walking.
Kegel exercises improve the tone of the pelvic floor muscles, which may have been weakened during childbirth. To perform Kegel exercises, follow these steps:
Instructions for Postpartum Activity
Rest when your baby is resting, even during the day. Adequate rest helps speed recovery.