A baby! A newborn baby brings a lot of joy and excitement to any family. Especially the new mom and dad, to watch the little themselves, to enjoy the cute expressions and feel the love in the eyes as the baby grows day by day. Yes! It is a Blessing! Along with this happiness, the mixed emotions or the fear or the anxiety what a new mother goes through is fully ignored, even in the most educated families. Do you know, more than 15% of the women after childbirth is affected by postpartum depression? In fact, the new mothers themselves are unaware in most cases.
Understanding New Mothers
When a baby is born, a lot of changes happen in the family. It’s not just the two tiny little feet that walk into the family but a lot of responsibilities and emotions coming along. It is the responsibility of the family members to lend a helping hand in bringing up the baby. As much as the baby is welcomed, enjoyed, and adored, respecting the new mother and helping her to gently swift into the role of a mother is essential too. Sometimes people fail to recognize that new moms are depressed and can shy away from taking help from others. We can care for her by cooking healthy foods, checking if they need any help, and talking to them often to ensure they don’t have any PPD symptoms.
If you are a new mother,
Know that, The first 6 weeks to 6 months after delivering a baby is called the postpartum period.
Managing a baby after childbirth and bringing the baby home is very much an exciting process. Make sure you take some help and rest in the initial days and don’t hesitate to ask for it. Here are some ideas to make your post-pregnancy a better one.
- Stay in touch with your family and friends
- Ask for help when needed – Speak out, your feelings are very important. Never overburden yourself
- Enjoy the relationship and time with your partner- make time for each other
- Take a few minutes to break to enjoy your “Me Time” – taking a relaxing shower or listening to music
- Take rest when the baby sleeps
- Have healthy foods, drink loads of water, and never forget the supplements suggested by your doctor.
- Take a small walk outside the house to feel the fresh air or meditate for sometime
- Not all days are the same. Some days may be different and accept that.
- Make sure you get enough sleep, a healthy diet, and few exercises or walk to keep you active.
Your body after the delivery- Physical care
Post-delivery, the body takes some time to recover. There might be some problems post-pregnancy and let’s learn how to handle them. Physical care is important post-delivery and the care required depends on the type of delivery you had.
Perineal soreness is very common during vaginal birth. The area between anus and vagina is torn naturally or a small cut is made by the doctor to widen the vagina for childbirth. You may feel discomfort while breastfeeding or after going to a bathroom. The bleeding is red in the first weeks of childbirth and changes to brown at the end of the period. Inform the doctor if your soreness doesn’t reduce or you notice any kind of infection.
Studies say that one-third of new mothers experience post-partum headaches. It is also common mainly among the mothers who delivered by Caesarean. Though the exact reason varies from a decrease in estrogen level to stress and fatigue, it can be avoided if the new mothers get enough sleep and drink loads of water to flush out the medicines during the 1st-week post-delivery. But it is also important to consult the doctor to avoid health issues like eclampsia.
In the initial days of breastfeeding sore nipples are common. But if it doesn’t change over a period of time, then they need to be checked if the baby is latching well. This should be checked before the nipples begin to crack which can slower the latching or could hinder the breastfeeding process.
Vaginal bleeding is common in both vaginal and C-Section delivery. The extra tissues and the blood around the baby during pregnancy are discharged and it continues for 10-15 days. Make sure to use clean maternity pads to avoid any sorts of infection.
There are several reasons for constipation. One could be the drugs taken during the delivery, or due to the fear because of the cut to open the vagina during childbirth. Drink lots of water and ask for medication if this continues for more than two days.
Pregnancy and Delivery takes a toll on the nerves of the urinary system. The common urinary problems are urinary retention, urinary incontinence, and UTI.
Urinary retention is characterized by the lack of urge to urinate, weak urine stream, and pain in the bladder when it’s full. When experiencing it, immediate attention is necessary. Scheduling and urinating once in 2-3 hours based on your water intake helps. Sometimes there may be pain or trouble while urinating. Urinary incontinence is when you can’t stop urinating and leakage of urine while laughing, sneezing, etc… This happens until your pelvic muscles get strong. Incontinence Pads help with urine leakage. Urinary tract infection – UTI is characterized by difficulty, irritation, and pain in urinating. Citrus juices and loads of water help with the infection. In all the urinary problems it is better to get medical professional help immediately when it persists.
Mensuration again post-delivery
Some may get periods again after 6-8 months. In some cases, until breastfeeding is stopped periods never resume. The flow might also vary from the pre-pregnancy.
Is it necessary to take care of your body and skin?
Definitely Yes! You had a baby and that’s all you need to celebrate your body. Post-pregnancy there are several changes happening in the body. Possible and most common changes are
- Dark Circles
- Hair loss
Tips to overcome
Above said problems are most common for most women after childbirth. Below are the few tips, to overcome or reduce them.
- Drink lots of water
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet can reduce most of the problems
- Sleep at least 8 hours a day
- Use Vitamin-E based oil on your stretch marks. Using them over a period of time shows some changes.
- Take foods rich in fiber and limit foods with sweet and fat.
Your body after the delivery- Mental care
Post-partum depression or the PPD as it is known is not a term for the new-age mothers. It’s been there for many years, but the knowledge or the understanding of how much the new mother goes through is still unexplainable or acceptable in many families. The cause of many depressions seems unknown and PPD is no exception. But it could be the effect of physical, emotional, and hormonal imbalances a mother goes through. Always remember, “It’s OKAY to not be OKAY”. Postpartum depression is always treatable with Counselling and Medication when identified early.
Symptoms to identify PPD
Women undergo lot of changes physically, mentally and socially during child birth. Sometimes the pregnancy period itself, is complicated or the labor is a very long and tiring process.
Most of the women after childbirth faces physiological changes which brings in lots of mood swings, fatigue, sleeplessness, fear and unhappiness. These are called Baby blues and it fades on its own after few days. Talking to someone in the family or a fellow mom can help improve the mood and feel better.
But it extends to postpartum depression only when the symptoms are severe. Some Post-partum depression symptoms include,
- Mixed feelings/depressed most of the time(Sad, upset or hopeless)
- Increased anxiety and anger
- Inability to sleep or too much of sleep
- Self-isolating from others
- Difficulty in bonding with the baby
- Excessive crying and fear
- Feeling unworthy or shame
- Thoughts of self-harming or harming the baby
- Repetitive suicidal thoughts
The condition if untreated can lasts for several months or even longer.
Post-partum Psychosis is a condition that occurs to the new mothers with in the first week of the delivery. The symptoms are very severe, which can be self-harming or harming the baby very badly. This stage requires immediate treatment.
Treatments and Care
Yes! PPD’s are common, not a fancy term and it’s completely curable. Based on the level of depression, several treatment options are available. The medications are provided to suppress the anxiety and depression, psychotherapy sessions, joining a support group/community or forums where these conditions can be discussed and educated.
If you have any history of depression, talking to the doctor in the early stage can help in avoiding PPD. During Pregnancy or after childbirth, the doctor can monitor you for the symptoms. Sometimes depression screening questionnaire are suggested by the doctor to be taken before and after delivery. When there are chances of mild symptoms, counselling is given. In case of severe complication medication is given both during pregnancy and even while breastfeeding. Speak to your doctor for early treatment.
You need not suffer in silence or feel shy to voice out your feelings. And most importantly, mothers need not be perfect always. Your child doesn’t expect or look for PERFECT mothers. They only need loving and caring mothers. Happy Motherhood!