Postnatal care

Although your new baby will probably give you great emotional satisfaction, Postnatal care is important as you may be physically uncomfortable. Your body has gone through many changes during pregnancy and it will take a while for it to return to its pre-pregnancy state.

Six weeks after the birth your doctor will examine you to make sure that everything is returning to normal; this also gives you a chance to discuss any worries you may have. The doctor will take your blood pressure and check a sample of your urine. This is a part of Postnatal care procedure.

Your breast and abdomen will be examined and the doctor will make sure that any stitches have healed properly. In Postnatal care process, you will probably have an internal examination to check the size and position of your uterus and you may have a cervical smear test if one is due.

If your baby was born in hospital, a midwife or doctor will probably talk to you about contraception before you go home. Alternatively, you can discuss this at your six-week check.

Another important aspect of Postnatal care is to avoid getting pregnant again you should use conception as soon as you resume intercourse. It is an old wives tale that breast feeding prevents conception.

If you were not immune to rubella (German measles) during your pregnancy, you will probably be offered the immunizations before you leave hospital or at your six-week check up. Ask your doctor if you are all unsure about your immunity.

Immediately after the birth your breast will produce colostrum, a high protein liquid full of antibodies. Then, after the pregnancy hormones decline, your main milk supply should come in around the third or fourth day. Postnatal care becomes even more crucial now.

At this time the breasts swell, feel hard, and can sometimes be painful. Bathing them with warm water is soothing, and letting the baby have frequent feed will also help.

This initial swelling subsides after a few days as both you and your baby get used to feeding. However, in Postnatal care process, if you have decided to bottle feed, your breast will remain full for a few days until they gradually stop producing milk.

Your breasts will probably never be quite firm as they were before pregnancy, but a well fitted support bra will help gradually.

After delivery your abdomen will probably be quite flabby and wrinkled because of slack muscles and stretched skin. Gentle Postnatal care exercise will help tighten up your abdominal and vaginal muscles, so make time to do them every day. If you feel you’re not disciplined enough to exercise on your own, join a local post-natal class.

Following the birth you will have a vaginal discharge which is known as lochia. This will be like a very heavy period for a few days, with the flow gradually getting lighter until it disappears within a few weeks.

Use maternity pads or large sanitary towels to absorb the discharge because there is a risk of infection is you use tampons in the early weeks after the birth. So avoid using it in Postnatal care period.

Your uterus will take six weeks to return to its original size. If you are breast feeding you may feel it contract as you feed the baby. If your perineum (the skin between the vagina and anus) was bruised during labour, or if you had stitches, you will find that anything that puts pressure on the area painful.

Take paracetamol to relieve the pain and ease the soreness with gel pack held against the perineum or by sitting in warm water. Try drying the area with a hand-held hair dryer, set on cool, rather than with a bath towel. Do not put the dryer too close to your skin, or use it in the bathroom.

If you take good Postnatal care, you can return back to your normal life.

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