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Recovering from normal delivery


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    Recovering from normal delivery

    Why am I peeing all the time?


    Your weight loss on giving birth is breathtaking. Subtracting the weight of your baby, plus the placenta and some blood and amniotic fluid leaves most women instantly 5kg lighter.

    The weight keeps coming off, too. Throughout pregnancy, your bodyís cells were hard at work retaining water, and now all that extra fluid will start seeping out in the form of sweat and urine. New mothers perspire a lot, and they often produce an astounding 3.4l / 6pt of urine a day - twice the usual amount.

    What are these crampy stomach pains I'm getting?


    Uterine contractions donít stop after the birth. At delivery, your uterus (womb) is about 25 times its pre-pregnancy size. Within minutes it begins to shrink, clenching like a fist. Its crisscrossed fibres tighten in the same way they did to push out your baby, causing cramps known as afterpains. (Afterpains usually grow worse with each successive pregnancy and may require a doctorís prescription for a painkiller).

    In one week your uterus is half the size it was at delivery, and by week two itís down to a mere 275g. By around week four, itís back to its normal pre-pregnancy weight of 60g. Yet the number of cells in the uterus doesnít decrease; a chemical breakdown of the protein within the cells causes them to collapse to a tenth of their pre-delivery size.

    The inner layer of cells that lined your uterus during pregnancy begins to slough off and pass out of your body as part of a menstrual-like discharge called
    lochia, which lasts for up to six weeks. Bright red at first, it gradually gets lighter in colour, fading to pink then whitish-yellow before it stops.


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    Re: Recovering from normal delivery

    Where's the heartburn gone?


    While your uterus was expanding to accommodate your growing baby, it pushed many of your organs - including your stomach, large and small intestines and heart -- up and out of the way. Once your baby's born, your organs will settle back into their original positions and pregnancy symptoms like heartburn and indigestion ease.

    Why am I leaking urine?


    The weight of your uterus and baby may also have strained your pelvic floor leading to stress incontinence (leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise). Regular pelvic floor exercises should sort this out within a few weeks -- if not, speak to your doctor.

    Why are my breasts sore?


    As you start lactating, your breasts may be engorged and painful for several days. Even your nipples can get sore in the early days of breastfeeding. But these are temporary problems that resolve soon after you get set in your breastfeeding routine. Wear well-fitting and supportive bras and put ice packs on your breasts to help relieve your pain and discomfort.

    Why am I constipated?


    It is common to be constipated or have discomfort from haemorrhoids after delivery. It's possible that you don't pass stool till a few days after your delivery. If you have haemorrhoids and suffer from constipation, you may feel a strain and pain while passing stool. Use ointments and sprays to help reduce swelling in the area of the rectum. Drink plenty of water and eat a wholesome diet full of fibre-rich fruits and vegetables to avoid constipation.


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    Re: Recovering from normal delivery

    Why are my emotions all over the place?


    Drop in pregnancy hormones
    During pregnancy, oestrogen allows cells to relax, stretch and retain water, and the sudden drop in oestrogen after delivery (levels drop by 90 per cent in the first three hours) leaves tissues soft and soggy. Meanwhile, progesterone holds your uterine muscles in check until it’s time to give birth and when progesterone levels suddenly drop after childbirth, certain natural processes that stopped or slowed during pregnancy start up again. The natural shedding of hair, for example: some women find they lose handfuls around three months after delivery.

    Oxytocin triggers afterpains
    Pregnancy hormones also transform your breasts, causing the development of a network of ducts and milk-producing tissue. Once oestrogen and progesterone levels drop off after delivery, hormones called prolactin and oxytocin -- in combination with your baby’s suckling - stimulate milk production. If those first breastfeeding sessions cause some abdominal cramping, it’s because oxytocin also triggers uterine contractions, or afterpains.

    Onset of baby blues
    Postnatal hormonal swings affect the central nervous system, too, sending new mothers on an emotional roller-coaster ride in that first month or so after delivery. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and weepy during the first couple of weeks - this is what's known as the baby blues. But if feelings of doubt, despair and malaise don’t go away after two weeks, tell your doctor. You could be suffering from postnatal depression.

    If just reading about all this makes you feel like a nap, it’s no wonder. The dramatic transformation from pregnant woman to new mother is exhausting. In just a few weeks your body reverses changes that took nine months to happen. But don’t worry, you’ll get through it with the help of that most glorious of distractions: your beautiful new baby.



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    Re: Recovering from normal delivery

    How can I help myself?


    You'll find your new role as mom easier and more enjoyable — if you care for yourself alongside your baby.

    • Many mothers recommend that after delivery you should follow the confinement practice prevalent in your household rather than ease back into your normal routine. They believe that this long period of rest and restrictive diet helps in quick and complete recovery. Read more on
    confinement practices.

    • Restrict the number of visitors at hospitals as well as at home. Sometimes the deluge of visitors after you've had a baby can be too much of a strain and there's always the risk of contracting an infection. Instead, invite them all over for the
    Naamkaran ceremony.

    • Go for your postnatal checkups on time – Before you leave the hospital, your doctor will schedule checkup appointments for you and your baby. These postnatal checks are very important to reassure that you are recovering well and there's no new infection. So be sure to keep them.

    • Resume exercises as soon as your doctor says it's OK. This will help you get back in shape, restore strength and energy levels and increase your sense of well-being. Walking in the park with your baby really works and you don't even have to worry about babysitting.

    • Set aside an hour or two each day for yourself. Relax with a book or listen to music. Spend some time alone with your husband or take a nap when your baby sleeps. The first few months after childbirth can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally, take these breaks to recharge and recover faster.



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