Postpartum Symptoms and Postpartum Care Part 2
In our last blogpost, Postpartum Symptoms and Postpartum Care - Part 1, we discussed six postpartum symptoms and tips on how to manage the discomforts and to help speed up the healing process. Today, we will cover the other symptoms that you may be experiencing during your recovery period.
1. Postpartum Hair Loss
You may notice a bunch of hair on your brush, pillows, or shower. Don’t panic! Shedding hair, especially after giving birth, is normal. During postpartum, women lose about 400 strands of hair daily, and that is five times the usual hair loss per day. Usually, after six months after giving birth, your estrogen levels normalize. When it does, you should notice that your hair loss is the same rate as you had before giving birth.
a. Take your postnatal vitamins to keep your hair healthy.
b. Shampoo less and use conditioner to moisturize and lessen the tangles.
c. Avoid any hair treatments that contain chemicals that may be harmful to your hair. Avoid perming, coloring, or blowdrying your hair.
d. If you feel you shedding more hair than expected, don’t hesitate to talk to your obstetrician-gynecologist.
2. Breast Engorgement
Your breast becomes a milk machine to supply the needs of your growing infant. During the first days and weeks, you and your baby are still adjusting to feeding and schedule. Some women may experience breast engorgement, which can be uncomfortable and often painful. Engorged breasts, if not remedied immediately, can lead to less milk, fever, and mastitis.
a. If your breasts feel sore, try applying warm compress on your breasts.
b. Massage your breasts to soften the lumps.
c. Breastfeed your infant on schedule. During the first few weeks, your infant will feed every 1 to 3 hours. Note that missing your breastfeeding schedule may lead to breast engorgement or low milk supply.
d. Empty your breast after feeding. Once your child empties one breast, switch him/her to the other side. In case your baby is not able to drain the milk from your breast, you may manually pump the extra milk.
e. If you feel your symptoms get worse, consult your doctor and check if you can take pain relievers.
3. Nipple Soreness
You will be breastfeeding your baby every one to three hours daily so you may experience nipple soreness and nipple crack.
a. Apply lanolin on your nipples to soothe and relieve the pain.
b. Pick a comfortable nursing bra. In choosing the bra size, add one cup size and one back size to your usual pre-pregnancy bra. Your nursing bra should be comfortable yet secure even on the tightest setting.
c. Correct your baby’s position during breastfeeding.
d. Avoid nursing pads with plastic cover.
e. Regularly change your nursing pads.
f. Use warm water during your bath.
g. Talk with your lactation consultant if you need help with breastfeeding pains and problems.
4. Abdominal Cramps and Contractions
During pregnancy, your uterus was stretched out as your baby grows. After childbirth, your uterus will shrink back to its pre-pregnancy shape and size. You will feel painful contractions in your lower belly as the uterus shrinks, especially when you are breastfeeding your baby.
a. Apply a warm compress to your abdomen.
b. You may consult your doctor for pain relievers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.
5. Postpartum Edema
You may notice that your face, ankles, feet, hands, or even your calf are swollen after giving birth. The swelling is because of the excess water that your body has retained even after delivery. Usually, the swelling resolves on its own after the first week postpartum.
a. To speed up the flushing of water from your body, drink lots of fluid. Remember that dehydration leads to water retention.
b. Avoid salt in your diet.
c. Eat foods that are rich in potassium.
d. Avoid caffeine.
e. Engage in light exercise.
f. If you feel severe pain or discomfort, consult your doctor. Severe edema may be a sign of a life-threatening condition, preeclampsia.
g. Avoid standing for a long time.
h. Elevate your legs whenever you are seated or lying down on your bed.
i. Do not cross your legs when sitting down.
j. Have a postpartum massage. Aside from helping you relax, the massage can help promote blood circulation and aid with losing the excess water weight.
k. You may use maternity compression stockings to help manage the swelling.
Some women develop hemorrhoids during their pregnancy because of internal pressure and constipation. Other women develop it after childbirth due to the strenuous pushing and exertion during delivery. While having hemorrhoids is not a severe condition, it can be excruciating.
a. Apply a cold compress on the area.
b. Use a pre-bottle to gently but thoroughly clean the area.
c. As much as possible, lie down to avoid placing pressure on the area.
d. Take pain killers to relieve the pain.
e. Take a sitz bath. By sitting on warm and shallow water, you can feel relief from the pain.
7. Loss of Bladder Control
If you had a strenuous delivery, your muscles around your bladder and pelvic might weaken. If that’s the case, you may experience your urine leaking when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or any activity that engages your core muscles. Most women overcome urine incontinence within three to six months after childbirth.
a. Improve your pelvic muscles by doing Kegel exercises
b. Try to lose the extra weight to lessen the strain on your bladder.
c. Avoid caffeine and citrus drinks that can irritate your bladder.
d. Drink at least eight glasses of water.
Remember to listen to your body. While soreness and some pain can be expected, be alert if you feel moderate to extreme pain. It might signal that something needs medical attention. Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor to ask for medical advice.
Did you find this post helpful? We would love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts by sending your comments below.
Ready to find a great sitter?