Helping yourself heal after delivery

Spread the love

The joy that comes when most women discover they are pregnant knows no bound. At that time they do not feel concerned about how their body seems to be changing rapidly. All they look forward to is the day of delivery. The changes that has happened to their body so far start to dawn on them few days after delivery. They suddenly desire that sexy shape they use to have. This can result into psychological stress for some women.

Body changes in pregnancy mothers get worried about

A woman’s body undergoes several changes throughout pregnancy. This usually does not become obvious until the later stages of pregnancy. 

Some of these changes include weight gain and this depends on the individual. While in some weight gain is moderate, in others it can be to the extreme. Other factors that can determine weight gain include the number of babies the woman carries in her womb. Women with multiple babies gain more weight than those with single babies.

Most women also become darker in pregnancy. This is because melanin production increases during pregnancy and this differs in different set of people. Pregnant women also do have a dark line at the center of their tommy and this runs down the pubic area and some may have stretch marks. However, this is common in women who were overweight before pregnancy or those with more than 1 baby in their womb.

Some women also retain water in some part of their body like the feet leading to swollen feet. This can even go as far as the knee in some. Also, some women do have puffy face. A common change to all women during pregnancy is the enlargement of their tommy and this usually depends on the size of the baby carried or even the weight of the mother.

About labor and delivery

Labor and delivery can be without much challenges for some mothers. In these ones, labor starts, progresses rapidly and they push out the baby without any assistance. In others, it follows a different pattern. Some may need assistance to allow the labor progress, some will need help to allow the baby come out once the cervix is widely opened while others just need help in bringing out the baby through caesarean section.

No matter the format your labor and delivery follows, the final goal is to have a well, healthy mother and baby.

Challenges that may be faced during delivery

While trying to deliver a baby, some women may need to be given a form of incision (cut) on the perineum or tommy depending on the route of the delivery.

For those given cut on the perineum, this is called episiotomy. It is done when the cervix is widely opened to allow the baby pass easily. This is not given routinely but rather given when the baby seems bigger than the passage or when instruments is to be used to bring out the baby. It can also be given when there is a risk of tear on the perineum.

Another type of incision that may be given to a pregnant woman to help bring out the baby is that given on the tommy. This can sometimes be at the center of the tommy running from the navel to the pubic area or down at the fold between your tommy and the pubic area. This type of incision is called caesarean section. It is usually given in people who cannot deliver through the vagina. Occasionally, it is given to save the life of a baby when in distress in the womb.

Either ways, the goal of both types of incision (at perineum or tommy) is to help the mother bring out the baby. Please note that labor and delivery is unpredictable, following your physician’s advice will help have a well-child and mother.

What happens after delivery?

Few hours after your baby is out, you may start to feel the stress your body passed through during labor and delivery. Pains as a result of the incision you had during delivery would also be felt at this time. The degree at which our body responds to stress differs. In some women, this can have negative impact on them psychologically especially those without support from families and friends.

For a woman who just delivered a baby, you need physical, social and psychologically healing. The first 6 weeks after delivery represent the time your body tries to readjust and return back to pre-pregnancy state. Although complete recovery may take some months, the major part of this recovery occurs during this 6 weeks.

During this time, your womb shrinks back to pre-pregnancy size and goes back to the pubic area and your body also sheds the pregnancy weight. Also, your melanin production returns to the normal level, therefore your complexion goes back to its pre-pregnancy color. The black line that runs along the center of your tommy through the navel to the pubic region also fades away over time.

In other to aid this healing

  • You need to eat healthy meals. Take plenty fruits and vegetables.
  • You also need to have enough rest. Most mothers complain about inability to sleep because babies do not sleep well at night. It is advisable to sleep when your baby sleeps.
  • Drink a lot of water. Your body needs water to function properly.
  • Seek help. Do not be a supermom. Call for help when you need to.
  • Create time for yourself to relax. Be involved in activities you used to enjoy before the pregnancy.
  • Talk to someone when you feel the need to. It will relieve you from psychological stress.

How do you care for your wound after delivery

Episiotomy wound

This wound needs to be cared for to avoid infection and breakdown (opening) of the wound. A suture that dissolves and gets absorbed by the body is usually used for this. This healing process can take about 2 weeks.

To care for this wound

  1. Ensure you clean your perineum gently after using the toilet. You can pat the incision site with wipes.
  2. Clean your perineum from front to back. This helps to reduce the risk of infection at this site. 
  3. Change your pad every 4hours.
  4. Use your medications prescribed by your physician.
  5. Ensure you have sitz bath after every episode of defecation. This will prevent infection at the site and aid healing.

Caesarean wound

If this type of incision breaks down, it can take several months to heal up. The wound will need to be dressed for a period of time and the person affected may need to be taken back to theatre in other to re-close the wound. This is why extra caution is required when caring for this wound. Occasionally, the suture used may be the one that cannot be absorbed by the body and this will need to be removed after some days.

After the first 6 weeks of delivery, this type of wound should have healed significantly although total healing can last 3-4months. Therefore, care must be taken not to put too much pressure on your tommy.

Once the plaster has been removed and your physician certify your wound as fit for home care, you proceed as follows.

  1. Clean the wound with spirit and cotton wool after having your bath.
  2. Do not engage in exercises that will put pressure on your tommy. Do not carry heavy weight. 
  3. Clean the wound about 3 – 4 times in a day.
  4. If you are coughing, go for treatment as soon as possible to prevent the wound from opening up.

When to call your doctor

  • If you notice your wound opens up.
  • If you notice the pain you are experiencing at the site of your incision is not getting better.
  • If you notice any swelling or discharge from your incision site.
  • If you have a fever.
  • If you feel unwell.

Spread the love
Dr Kay
About Dr Kay 58 Articles
As a physician, I love to give answers to several questions bothering people, educating them on how to be healthy, breaking down what their present condition is all about and counselling them on how to manage their condition.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.