Once you deliver your baby, you are in the puerperium—the six-week period during which your reproductive organs heal and return to their non-pregnant status and your body goes through various physical, psychological and emotional changes. It is a critical time for all new mothers as their body is still weak and vulnerable to various infections and diseases.
While your body makes the transition and tries to heal, it also simultaneously nurtures your growing baby, especially as you breastfeed, sometimes making it difficult for your reproductive organs to heal completely and resulting in certain complications.
Here are three major post-natal health issues that can affect you.
An inflammation of the breast tissue, mastitis can stem from an infection or blockage in your milk ducts, which affects your milk flow. In non-infectious mastitis, the milk remains inside the breast tissue and gets infected, while in infectious mastitis, the infection is caused due to bacteria.
- A part of the breast becomes red
- The affected area will be painful and hot to the touch
- Results in a burning sensation while feeding or, in severe cases, at all times
- Increase in body temperature or chills
- Excessive tiredness and body ache
- Drink plenty of liquids and rest well.
- Feed your baby to make sure you are emptying your breasts. In case your baby is not feeding enough, pump out the milk and store for later feeds.
- Apply a warm (or hot compress) to the affected area just before feeding to loosen up any hard lumps.
- Speak to your doctor.
2. Postpartum Constipation & Hemorrhoids
Many women experience constipation and hemorrhoids (swollen vein or veins around the anus) after birth. While both conditions might also be present during pregnancy, hemorrhoids (also known as piles) can be especially painful after birth and can occur inside the anus and above it, as well as outside the anus and under its skin.
- Difficulty while passing stools, which is often accompanied with bleeding
- Swelling, pain, itching and discomfort in and around the anus
- Lumps in and around your anal region that may sometimes be painful to touch or while passing stool
- If you are constipated, try to pass stools as often as you feel the pressure, even though it produces little or no result.
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids and include fiber-rich foods in your diet.
- Your doctor may suggest a stool softener to prevent tears and ointments, suppositories or pads. If that doesn’t help, your doctor may suggest surgery.
- Witch hazel helps to reduce pain and itching around the anal area, but do speak to your doctor about it first and learn how to use it safely.
- Dandelion, in particular, has been found to be useful in treating constipation during pregnancy. Know how to use it here.
3. Puerperal Infection
Puerperal infections are bacterial infections of the female reproductive tract following child-birth and and is mostly seen in the uterus and the tissues that surround it.
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Chills and fever higher than 100.4 degree F
- Very foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Severe puerperal infections require hospitalization and is treated with intravenous antibiotics.
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