Dealing with postpartum discomforts – what some experts have tagged ‘one of the greatest kind of pain a woman endures and lives to tell’ – can feel like your body is about to explode. Find tips to help you better cope with the situation.
1. The Full Body-Aches
After all the tensing and pushing, contortions and screaming, you’ve finally delivered. Your whole body will ache like all the headaches in the world have returned for revenge.
Relax. It’s normal. It will probably stop after a couple of days but take some Panadol or Paracetamol to relieve you so that you can nurse your baby. Was it a boy or a girl?
2. The Bleeding
Some people just can’t stand the sight of blood but after childbirth, vaginal bleeding is a normal thing. It usually goes on for 2-6 weeks after birth, accompanied by discharge of tissue no longer needed.
Some have suggested taking placenta pills because it contains iron that helps stops the bleeding. Breastfeeding also causes release of oxytocin which incites uterine cramps that help stop post-delivery bleeding.
If the blood gush is too much after a couple of days, report to a doctor.
3. The Infamous Cramps
You probably can’t believe that these abdominal cramps could mean anything good. It feels like some invisible hand seizes and squeezes your lower abdomen and sometimes, even your legs. It’s an aching weird feeling – very uncomfortable.
Well, it is common if you had vaginal delivery; it’s just your Uterus contracting/shrinking back to its normal size and location. Although breastfeeding could cause more or worsen the cramps due to the release of oxytocin, this symptom should normally stop within two weeks after delivery.
Relaxing is probably the most important and helpful thing to do at this stage. Getting worked up could intensify the pain from the cramps. You can also lie face down with a soft small pillow under your abdomen or have your partner tenderly massage the area.
4. The Itchy Stitches
Did you have a Cesarean section? You won’t feel those cramps. Instead, you will feel some weird pull or numbness around the area where you were cut and sewed up.
You will also experience some tingling, itching sensation around the area of incision. It is the feeling of healing in progress. Do not itch as you don’t want to make the stitches come undone. Pressing a soft cloth soaked in warm water on the stitches will do wonders for you.
If however, you notice any swelling, redness and discharge, call or go see a doctor quickly; you might be infected.
It’s not only C-section deliveries that have cuts and stitches. Sometimes, while the baby is coming out, the area between your vagina and your rectum (anus) may tear on its own. In rare cases, usually as a last resort, it is deliberately cut by the midwife to ease the passage of the baby. Either way, the cut has to be stitched.
This means you will have difficulty sitting and walking around. You may also feel pains when you sneeze or cough. Ouch!
When you urinate, which you’ll do a lot of after delivery, pour warm water over the area to reduce the sting of urine on a healing wound. Pat dry with tissue and when you do number 2, do not wipe downwards (towards your vagina and the perineal stitches) but upwards towards your back. This is to avoid infection.
6. Engorged/swollen breast. Try and nurse more or pump into a bottle
7. Swollen face, fingers and legs. This is due to stored up fluids during pregnancy. It should reduce in about two weeks but if you feel severe pains, see your doctor.
8. Frequent urges to urinate. It’s the body’s way of getting rid of the excess fluids. Drink lots of water and be mindful of those episiotomy stitches, if any.