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Postpartum Care

Hello New Momma,

Congratulations on becoming a Mom. This phase is very exciting and equally overwhelming, as you get to spend many joyful moments with the little one. Of course those sleepless nights and the bodily changes after delivery can't be ignored and could be physically and mentally exhaustive. It takes few days to weeks to get into a routine with added responsibilities of caring for the baby. 

The period starting immediately after labor is referred to as Postpartum and usually lasts up to 6 weeks since delivery. During this phase, most of the new mothers don't focus on themselves. But it is very important to take the time and effort to attend to yourself!! 



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Let us take a quick look at the Dos and Don'ts and common symptoms, post delivering the baby.

Dos:

  • Take sufficient rest: Your body has gone through a lot of changes over the last 10 months and it takes time to heal. Rest is obviously the best medicine for recovery. You will have disturbed sleep as you will be feeding and tending to your little one at multiple intervals and odd hours. So the best advice to you as a new mom is to catch some z's while the baby sleeps. 
  • Eat healthy meals: You will still need additional calories like your pregnancy period, as you breast feed your child. So continue to have balanced, nutritional, healthy and home cooked food. It helps in your recovery process too.
  • Drink lots of water: Staying hydrated is always advicable, especially while you are breast feeding. It helps to replenish the water level in your body and aids in bowel movement.
  • Take your vitamin supplements: Iron and calcium are very essential for a new mom and are generally prescribed for a minimum of 3 months post delivery. Do take the vitamin supplements as recommended by your doctor.
  • Accept help from family and friends: There is an adage "It takes an army to raise a child" and is very true. Taking care of a tiny tot all by yourself, might sound simple, but in reality isn't. I wouldn't say impossible, but highly tiring. Seek help from your family and friends in assisting with the baby, handling house hold chores, buying groceries, preparing meals, taking care of your elder kid(s) etc.
  • Exercise moderately: Consult your doctor before you start with an exercise regime. Even after a go head from your physician, start slow and do not over do. 

Don'ts:

  • Don't lift heavy objects: You have just delivered a baby and your body, especially your abdomen and its muscles will be very weak. Do not over do by lifting heavy items. General thumb rule is not to lift anything else apart from baby, at least for 3 months.
  • Don't fret over body weight: Weight gain is inevitable during pregnancy. Do not lose your mind over it. You will not lose the excess weight, the moment your baby is born. Some may take few weeks and for some it may take years to return to the pre-pregnancy weight, depending on the body type. Take it easy and work on it slowly and steadily.
  • Don't load up on carbohydrates: Consuming additional calories is recommended during this period. However, choose your food wisely. Do not load up on carbohydrates, instead have more of protein, iron and fiber. This will help you to reduce body weight naturally, while providing you with required nutrients.
  • Don't skip doctor follow ups: Do not miss your follow up doctor appointments, as your physical health is important. If you have any questions about your recovery, diet, exercise etc. it is a good opportunity to discuss and get them clarified during these visits.
Common issues during postpartum:
  • Abdominal pain: It is expected to have abdominal pain after child's birth in case of both vaginal and c-section deliveries. It is because the uterus, which grew enormously in size to accommodate the growing baby, tries to contract and regain its previous state. Generally it lasts for 3-4 days after delivery. If the pain is unbearable or lasts longer, do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor. 
  • Constipation: Another common problem faced by new moms is constipation. Try drinking lots of water and food rich in fiber to help ease the bowel. Do not exert pressure to clear your bowel. Instead check with your doctor to prescribe some safe laxatives for few days till normalcy resumes.
  • Bleeding: This is quite a normal phenomenon, as body naturally tries to clean the uterus by shedding out impure blood. It may last up to 4 weeks after labor. But you need to inform your doctor in case of excessive discharge or if it smells bad, to rule out a vaginal infection or postpartum hemorrhage. 
  • Pelvic floor pain: During pregnancy and child birth, the pelvic floor becomes stretched to make way for the baby to easily pass through the vagina. So moms will experience pain and weakness in this area for few weeks while into postpartum. You may try some Kegel exercises to contract and strengthen the pelvic floor.
  • Breast engorgement: High chances that your breast may engorge (swell) and become uncomfortable and sometimes painful. This is because they may be full with milk. You could try warm compress for relief. Also try nursing the child in a timely manner or pump out excess milk, to avoid engorgement.
  • Mood swings/ Depression: This is a very common symptom which most new moms go through. They experience irritability, sleeplessness, gloominess and may often feel like crying and restless. This is referred to as baby blues, caused due to hormonal changes and is expected to subside within a couple of weeks. If this condition persists for a prolonged period, it could be postpartum depression and needs medical attention. So do not hesitate to talk to your doctor.
As a new mom, you have endured a lot over the last few months. This is the time to relax and heal. So do take your family and friends support during this phase and most importantly do not miss out to enjoy the time with your bundle of joy. Babies outgrow real quick, before you even realize!!

Happy parenting!!!
          


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