Post Delivery

Postpartum Recovery

How to Care for My Delivery Wound?

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If you have had a vaginal delivery, the average recovery period from swelling, soreness, and stitches is around 6 weeks. A caesarean section will require around 12 weeks of complete healing.

If you have had stitches from an episiotomy, this may take 7-14 days to heal. Prevent your wound and stitches from getting infected by cleaning the area with warm water or antiseptics after using the toilet. Refrain from wiping with dry toilet paper as this could irritate the area. Contact your doctor if the pain worsens as this could be a sign of infection.

If you have stitches from a C-section, the recovery period may be longer. While the surface stitches will heal within 1 week, the stitches in your muscle layer will not completely heal until around 3 months. Contact your doctor if you notice any signs of infection around the area such as redness, swelling or pus, or if you develop a fever.

What Changes do Mums Face Post-delivery?

In the immediate days and weeks postpartum, most of your time and attention will be focused on tending to your newborn’s needs. However, it is important to get sufficient rest and nutrition as your body recovers from the childbirth process.During this period, you will notice the following changes in your body:

Postpartum Bleeding (Lochia)

Hormonal Changes

Cramps

Weakened Bladder Muscles

Constipation and Haemorrhoids

Emotional Changes

Breastfeeding Your Baby

If possible, it is advisable to start breastfeeding post-delivery when your newborn is placed on your chest. Breastfeeding requires patience and practice, and it is normal for newborn babies to have trouble latching or staying onto the mother’s nipple. Women are advised to breastfeed exclusively if possible for the first 6 months after giving birth.

How to breastfeed?

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It is important for your newborn to latch properly in order to successfully breastfeed.

  1. Once your baby’s mouth is open wide, bring your baby forward towards the breast instead of leaning over and placing the breast into his/her mouth.
  2. The baby’s mouth should cover both your nipple and areola, with the baby’s chin and tip of the nose touching your breast.
  3. Watch for a suckling motion in your baby’s cheek, jaw and ear and a swallowing sound which indicates proper extraction of breast milk.

A breastfeeding session may take up to 40 minutes during the first few months. Find a comfortable position for yourself and your baby, supporting the back of your baby’s head during feeding with your hand or a pillow. Watch this step-by-step video guide on the latching technique for proper breastfeeding.

How often should I breastfeed?

  • New mothers should try to nurse frequently (8 – 12 times every 24 hours) as regular nursing produces more milk.
  • As the frequency varies between babies, feeding on demand rather than on schedule may result in more successful feeds.
  • Allow your baby to fully finish from one breast before offering the second one.
  • Within the first week, you may need to gently wake your newborn as he or she may fall asleep during feeding.

What to do with sore breasts and nipples?

  • As your body produces milk for breastfeeding, your breasts will become heavier and sore.The heaviness should subside within several weeks after delivery.
  • If your breasts feel hard, swollen and painful, they may be engorged.
  • If you are experiencing trouble expressing milk or if your baby is not latching correctly, contact a lactation consultant through your obstetrician for help.

Confinement

Confinement is observed in some Asian cultures in the immediate period after birth for both the new mother and baby. This period is observed by the Chinese for 30 days, Malays for 44 days and Indians for 40 days, with the aim of allowing the mother to recover from childbirth. Traditionally, both mother and baby stayed indoors during the confinement period in order to prevent them from falling sick.

  • Confinement Care

    There are several confinement practices new mothers are encouraged to observe, according to their traditions.
  • These may include avoiding “cool” elements such as taking cold baths and turning on the air conditioning and fans around the house. Women may also be advised to bathe in herb-infused water and avoid washing their hair during confinement. These practices are thought to help the body retain its heat and avoid future problems such as arthritis and rheumatism.
  • Nutrition

  • According to each ethnicity, there are certain confinement diets comprising dishes that can help new mothers boost their immunity and regain their strength. These include dishes with “heaty” ingredients such as tonics brewed with herbs, pig trotters in ginger and vinegar, and papaya fish soup which is believed to increase breast milk supply. Foods which are “cooling” should be avoided, such as cold drinks, cucumber, pineapple, sugarcane, etc. as these can prolong the recovery. New mothers should also avoid intake of caffeine and alcohol for the period of breastfeeding as these substances can be transferred into the breast milk.

Tips for a Restful Confinement

  • During the first few months, accept help from your spouse, family members or hire a confinement nanny to help you with tasks such as caring for your newborn, household chores and confinement meal preparation.
  • Avoid straining yourself by doing rigorous activities until you have received the green light from your doctor to resume your normal daily activities. If you have had a C-section, you may have to wait a longer period before resuming your daily routine.
  • Do not be too focused on losing the pregnancy weight immediately. Some of this will be naturally shed from breastfeeding and the demands of caring for your baby.
  • It is important to eat nutritiously and try to get some rest in between caring for your baby to help you regain your strength.

*Content republished by SMG Women's Health.

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