It's natural for most women to bleed for 4–6 weeks after delivery. This postpartum bleeding is known as lochia. It's normal to bleed heavily and pass grape-sized clots for the first 4 days. Over the next few weeks, usually, the blood turns brownish-pink and finally white and no clots are passed. But it's not normal to bleed unusually heavily (soaking a maxi-pad in an hour) or pass multiple golf ball-sized clots at any point in the bleeding period – not even the first 4 days.
Prolactin, the milk-producing hormone in humans, inhibits ovulation. Hence, mothers of exclusively breastfed babies get a period 6–8 months after delivery. Bottlefeeding mothers may get into the flow much earlier, as early as 4 weeks after delivery. Remember, pregnancy is a possibility even if your period hasn't resumed. An iron-rich diet and herbs such as moringa, garden cress, and shatavari can help ease you into the menstrual routine after childbirth.
One should definitely avoid having sex immediately after childbirth because it can cause bleeding, increases risk of uterine infection and ruptures wounds that are still healing. The recommended wait time is between 4 and 6 weeks after delivery. Even after this, women may struggle with low libido, less lubrication, and low self-esteem. It's important to feel emotionally and mentally ready, before having sex again.
If you're considering C-section, know that it is major surgery, with greater maternal mortality risk than vaginal births and the possibility of complications in future pregnancies. It even impacts your baby’s ability to breathe just after birth. If you are slated for doctor-recommended C-sections for health reasons, rest assured the choice is the right one. This is because medical condition like diabetes or complications with the placenta or the position of the baby might make a vaginal birth much riskier.
Though babies can start eating solid foods in 4–6 months, don't stop feeding them breast milk (or formula) till they turn 1. Start with pureed rice, oatmeal, potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, apples, pears, bananas, meat, fish, or tofu in tiny quantities. Proceed to mashed and soft foods when the baby turns 6 months, and after they turn 8 months, give them 3 meals a day, with carbs, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Keep an eye on the change in their stools and any sign of allergies.
Breakthrough bleeding isn’t something you’d normally expect with the clockwork efficiency of oral contraceptive pills. Yet, it is surprisingly common in the early weeks and months after you begin taking these pills, as your system adjusts. It could also happen when you miss a pill or you fall ill, have stomach upsets or vomiting and can’t keep the pill down. Breakthrough bleeding while on the pill is also a possibility if you take certain antiseizure medications or herbal remedies such as St. John's Wort.
Labor has 4 stages. Stage 1 lasts between 12 to 19 hours. Here, contractions get increasingly intense and more frequent and your cervix dilates to 10 cm. Stage 2 lasts between 20 minutes to 2 hours. You start pushing and deliver your baby during this stage. Stage 3 lasts 5 to 30 minutes. The placenta is delivered in this stage. Stage 4 indicates the first 2 to 3 hours after birth – time for you to rest, recover, and breastfeed.
Not all mothers need an episiotomy, a surgical incision that widens the vaginal opening. It is only necessary if the baby is large, in an abnormal position, or is not handling the last minutes of labor well. While the recovery may take upto a month, having warm sitz baths and keeping the area clean, dry can help ensure safe episiotomy aftercare and healing.
Mediolateral episiotomy is an inch-long diagonal cut from the vulva toward the hipbone, while midline episiotomy is a straight cut from the vulva toward the anus. While blood loss, pain, and scarring are less in midline episiotomy, there's a higher risk of cuts in the anal muscles. Post-delivery, keep the area between the vagina and the anus clean and avoid foods that cause constipation. When in pain, apply cold packs on the region or take prescribed pain medicines.
If you were a regular swimmer before getting pregnant, you should continue with your routine. You can swim for 30 minutes without aggravating your joints. It gives your relief from foot and ankle swelling. Swimming eases the sciatic pain. Cool water provides welcome relief from morning sickness. Swimming helps maintain muscle tone and increases your endurance when in labor and delivery.
Maintain a daily exercise routine of light to mild exercise, focusing more on kegel and deep breathing exercises, during your entire pregnancy. Keep a tab on your weight, by drinking copious amounts of water and filling up on fresh fruits, leafy greens. Engage in regular perineal massage after the completion of 7th month to ease stress levels and tackle labor efficiently.
The oral contraceptive pill has been a boon to millions of women worldwide. And as expected of any hormone-based medication, it does have side effects. It is often assumed that the pill causes depression but the scientific community is yet to endorse this idea.
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A mother feels exhausted, depleted, and tired after childbirth. Ayurveda recommends 6 weeks rest after a child birth. Prolonged discomfort, depression, and lack of recovery can cause fatigue, stress, hemorrhoids, irritability, depression and digestive problems resulting in chronic health problems later. Healthy fresh cooked meals, clean and positive environment, a good warm oil massage, and belly wrapping to restore organs and muscles can help a new mother.
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