Are You Following These Postpartum Instructions?

In the U.S., a baby is born every 8 seconds, with over 10,000 born a day. And every child changes so much about how parents live their lives, which becomes most apparent right when you bring your bundle of joy home from the hospital for the first time. This special time with your newborn is vital for bonding, nurturing, and caring, as well as time for you to recover from delivery. Proper care for you and your child begins with knowing how to care for your own unique needs as well as caring for your newborn.

New parents in the Arlington, Texas area looking for help with caring for themselves after delivery can find top-quality care with Dr. Joan Bergstrom and the many doctors at Women’s Health Services. With decades of experience helping women with a wide variety of needs, Women’s Health Services is committed to delivering the care and treatment you need.

Here are some important things to remember after you deliver your child and head home:

General care

Adjusting to life with your child after getting home will take some time. The first two weeks are about you and your baby getting into a routine, which will mean getting more sleep during the day to adapt to nightly feedings and other needs. Avoid strenuous work and heavy lifting, and work things back into your normal schedule as it feels more comfortable to do so. You can resume regular exercise two to three weeks after delivering your baby. This also includes Kagel exercises which help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

Uterine/perineal care

Your body will experience many changes as it adapts once you’ve delivered your baby. Your perineum (the area between your anus and your vulva) may still be uncomfortable once you get home after delivery. Be sure to use your peri-bottle to clean that area, rinsing front to back with warm water. Take sitz baths for 15 minutes two or three times daily to help in dissolving any stitches in the perineum and help with healing in the area. 

Lochia is the bright red vaginal bleeding you experience post-delivery, and it may last a month (though it can last up to six weeks with light bleeding and spotting). It will eventually go back to the normal color you see during your regular period.

Breast care

If you’re breastfeeding, wear a well-fitting bra and make sure your baby is properly latched to your nipple to avoid sore or cracked nipples. Nursing every one to three hours for 15-20 minutes on each breast should be sufficient nutrition and fluids for your newborn. If your breasts become engorged (very full, firm, or tender), use ice packs for 15-20 minutes at a time. Issues with engorged breasts often resolve in a few days. Since your body needs more calories while breastfeeding, be sure to take prenatal vitamins and drink lots of water daily. 

Bowel care

After coming home from delivering a baby, concerns about normal bowel function are perfectly normal. You should start going back to normal bowel function about three or four days after delivery. A diet high in fiber and fluids can help alleviate problems with constipation, and basic activities like walking will help promote bowel movements and improve circulation. 

Postpartum depression

When giving birth, a normal response to hormonal changes is a mix of many emotions. Joy and elation are expected, but mood swings can run a range from anxiety to depression. Baby blues is the common term for emotional changes in the first two or three weeks, which can include crying spells, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. However, a more severe, long-lasting type of depression new moms can experience is known as postpartum depression. This can include difficulty bonding with your child, severe mood swings, and withdrawal from family and friends. Please seek help if symptoms continue to get worse and make it hard to complete daily tasks.

Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your child. If you have questions or concerns about postpartum care, make an appointment with Dr. Bergstrom and Women’s Health Services today.

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