Homecoming and after…
Mother & Baby India|April 2021
Congratulations! Your little bundle of joy has finally arrived. The pregnancy and birth are behind you and now you can concentrate on baby activities. But, although you may be too busy to realise it, this is the time to take good care of yourself too. Here’s our ready reckoner on how to smoothe your postpartum period...
PRITI SALIAN

PAMPER YOUR PERINEUM

The perineal area is sore when you have had a baby and an episiotomy or perineal tear which becomes essential in the first couple of deliveries, only adds to the pain. The best way to soothe yourself is by sitting in a tub of warm, shallow water called a ‘sitz bath’ for a few minutes, as long as you can manage comfortably. Dr Manisha Mittal, Delhi-based obstetrician-gynaecologist, advises wearing loose cotton clothes that do not stick to your perineal area. This will reduce your discomfort. “Avoid sitting cross-legged and, most importantly, keep the area clean by splashing it with cold water and changing your pads frequently. In case the episiotomy goes right up till the rectum, consume a light diet so that you may comfortably pass your stools,” she says. Also, always wipe yourself from front to back after a bowel movement to minimise infection. Your gynaecologist may advise an ointment to soothe the area and, of course, an antibiotic cover to reduce chances of an infection. In case your perineal area gives you intense pain even after 10 days, go in for consultation.

In case of C-section: Keep the stitched area dry and hygienic. In fact, the clothes that are in contact with the stitches should also be impeccably clean to avoid any kind of infection. “Do not use a hot or cold compress to soothe the pain,” adds Mittal.

MANAGE THE BLOOD

Your vaginal discharge after you have delivered your baby is called lochia. It is bloody and bright red initially and changes to pinkish-brown within a week or 10 days and gradually pales towards the end. The quantity also reduces with time. “For the first two to three days after delivery, you may need to change your sanitary pad every two to three hours, but after that normally the bleeding should settle down to about two to three pads in a day,” says Mittal. The discharge may go on up to 40 days in some of you while it may last only a week in some. However, if it doesn’t seem to reduce even after 40 days, you need to call on your gynaecologist. It’s also better to use pads rather than tampons, even if they stay on, to avoid infection during post-natal bleeding.

BEST FOR YOUR BREASTS

This is an extremely important part of postpartum care. Take good care of breast hygiene (though there’s no need to clean them after every feed) and wear loose clothes to avoid fungal infections like thrush. In case you develop cracks in your nipples, get them treated immediately as they may develop into an inflammation of the breasts called mastitis and may prevent you from feeding your baby.

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