Dealing with Vaginal Postpartum Conditions
Things Are Different Now
Somewhere in our minds we have this thought that once the baby is born everything will spring back to normal in a very short time. Although that does seem to be the way it can happen for a few women, for most of us, the return to normal takes several days, or weeks and months. Of course, your first priority is your new baby, and that's as it should be. However, it is important that you take good care of yourself postpartum - because if you're not taking care of you, then you won't be at your best to take care of your new baby.
Sore breasts, skin changes, hair loss and vaginal challenges are all common postpartum concerns after a vaginal delivery. In this article we will address some of them with you to help you identify the problem and apply healing measures to it.
That Cut Has to Heal
Vaginal soreness can be the result of an episiotomy or vaginal tear. Don't forget that a head measuring about 10cm went through your vagina and out the vaginal opening which has a normal expansion limit of about 2cm. That's quite a stretch! And, it is common for it to be painful afterward for some time. Here's what you can do to help ease the discomfort:
· Relieve the pain of the wound by using an icepack or create an icepack by wrapping ice in a washcloth. Pads soaks in chilled witch hazel are also soothing. Witch hazel is the primary ingredient in many hemorrhoid pads. You can likely find them available at your local pharmacy.
· Keep the episiotomy wound clean by using a squirt bottle filled with warm water to rinse away tissue after using the toilet. A sitz bath or a soak in a warm tub with some Epsom salts is another soothing way to clean and heal the wound. If you have a bidet in your bathroom, you're one up on this point.
· If urination stings, squat over the seat rather than sitting on the toilet seat. Pour warm water from a pitcher over the vulvar region as you go.
· When sitting, do so with care. Rather than allowing your bottom to stretch out when you sit, "squeeze a dollar bill" with your buttocks as you sit. If that is still painful, try a doughnut cushion.
· Kegel exercises are amazing when it comes to speeding healing to the lower region of your body post baby. Kegels help tone the pelvic floor and tighter muscles will give you more control in the abdomen.
· Be on the lookout for infection. If the condition of the incision or the tear becomes inflammatory, painful, or begins to discharge, contact your healthcare provider and have it checked.
Vaginal Discharge for How Many Weeks?
Lochia is the technical name for vaginal discharge and it is present after giving birth. You'll have a vaginal discharge for anywhere from two to eight weeks after the birth of your baby. It begins with a heavy flow of blood for a couple of days after the birth and you might even notice a gush of blood when you get up from sitting or lying down. The lochia will gradually taper off and go through a progression of colors from pink to brown to yellow or white. It is best to use sanitary napkins instead of tampons during this period to avoid infection. You may occasionally pass blood clots. Don't be alarmed at this. However, if any of the following happens, call your doctor:
· Your sanitary napkin is soaked within an hour while you are lying down
· There is a foul odor to the discharge
· The size of the blood clots are larger than a golf ball
· You have a fever of or over 100.4F or 38C
After pains, or contractions, can be felt for a few days after the baby has been born. The uterus contractions help prevent excessive bleeding by causing compression of the blood vessels and often feel like menstrual cramping. You may notice it more when you are breastfeeding your baby and, if this is your second or third child, you may experience even more pronounced contractions than you did with the first baby. If you are really uncomfortable, your doctor may prescribe an OTC pain reliever. If your abdomen is very tender and painful and if you have a fever, give the doctor a call - you may have a uterine infection.
It Hurts to Go
Difficulty urinating may be the result of swelling or bruising of the tissues around the bladder and urethra. If you are tense and fearful of the sting that may come from urinating on the perineal area, which may be tender from the birth, that too can cause problems urinating. To help your body to release the urine, contract and relax the pelvic muscles while you are sitting on the toilet or pour warm water over the vulva while you urinate. This usually rectifies itself. However, if it continues or if you have the symptoms of a urinary tract infection call the doctor. For instance:
· It hurts to urinate
· You feel like you haven't really emptied your bladder
· You feel like you have to go to the bathroom frequently
Nerve and muscle damage can be caused to the bladder or urethra during pregnancy and birth which causes muscle weakness. You may find you leak a little when you cough or sneeze or laugh. It should all be resolved within three months. In the meantime, do your Kegels and wear a sanitary pad.
For more information of the various vaginal conditions that may be present after delivery, be sure to visit our site and check the articles in this section.