The joys of motherhood cannot be expressed without reference to the struggles everpresent in all its required stages.
A considerable part of your routine now, you care for your newborn; feeding, weaning, cleaning, singing to, speaking what you think is baby lingo. Submerged in all this, it is easy to forget your importance in this mother-child relationship.
Self-care gradually becomes not as important as your baby. However, a sharp reminder is the challenges that come with your new status as a mother. These are postpartum problems that should be given attention.
Below are common postpartum problems you should know, and be ready for.
Postpartum Depression (PPD)
“Baby blues” is the term that describes mothers making their ways through complexities and discomfort in this early stage of motherhood. Sadness, fatigue are characteristics of baby blues.
However, the severity of a complication can be measured by how long it continues. Feeling down and overwhelmed more than you usually do is a relatable experience for new mothers.
But there is baby blues and postpartum depression. PPD is more powerful and is characterized by constant fatigue, lethargy, and severe mood swings.
Medication and therapy are the ways you can get live through PPD and eventually get cured of it. Sometimes, the former ends up as the build-up to the latter, but that happens when antidepressants and other drugs prove ineffective.
Like many problems, some women are more likely to be depressed than others after their babies are born. These are what increase the chances:
History of depression in the family: This is a thing. Studies have shown the heritability of depressive tendencies. Twin data research proved that the heritability level of depressive disorders is a shocking thirty-seven percent. Given this information with a family history of depression, there is every likelihood that you are going to pass through this stage.
Traumatic experience during pregnancy can lead to PPD as well: Living through mentally straining ordeals such as neglect and loneliness can harm the psychological welfare of a new mother. Death of a close friend or family member could jeopardize the final laps of pregnancy and steal its way into motherhood even after birth.
Not only do you put your baby’s health at risk by imbibing alcohol and consuming drugs indiscriminately, but you also endanger yourself as delivery isn’t the end to this. Stay away from alcohol and drugs during and after pregnancy.
Rough childbirth can be a catalyst for a host of tragedies: Beating the odds against triumphant labour can take a toll on you as a mother. If you entertain any thoughts as to the possibilities of other similar hurdles that may surface as you raise the child, you might be picking your mental health apart by getting consumed in such thoughts. This is a sure path to depression.
Baby’s Ill health. Babies are beautiful, fragile things and win. Even something as progressive as teething causes them pain, and you worry. So a baby prone to illness might feel too much for you to handle.
Symptoms and what you watch out for:
- Thoughts about harming your baby
- Inability to bond with your baby
- Powerlessness in controlling emotions
- Bad memory
Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH)
It has been a week since the midwives congratulated you. And now, when you are not marvelling at how a baby so little made you go through so much, you wonder when the bleeding will end.
The other woman you congratulated too at the hospital is most probably as worried as you are. This is perfectly normal, and it persists till even six weeks after birth, whether you delivered traditionally or through cesarian.
However, some women bleed excessively after childbirth. This should not be overlooked. PPH has been reported to be the leading cause of maternal mortality.
Who is at risk?
Every mother who had had to carry a pregnancy past 20 weeks’ gestation period are the usual patients for PPH. Although the developed world has witnessed an exponential decrease in maternal mortality rate, postpartum haemorrhage remains a leading cause of maternal mortality elsewhere.
Usually, the bleeding should begin to reduce a few days into motherhood. There should be a reduction inflow. Darker blood should replace the active red, and flow out slowly for a few weeks before the final stop.
Even though there might be inconsistency in this development due to breastfeeding or other activities which increases flow, blood should decrease gradually with each day.
Various issues cause haemorrhage. It could range from serious causes like retained placenta or the inability of the uterus to contract. This might require emergency medical—or even surgical—attention. A simple decision like being proactive to cope with postpartum depression or lethargy can trigger excessive flow.
Symptoms; Visit the doctor if you are experiencing the following:
Cramps and more flow: Your body might feel like it is trying to make up for those nine “dry” months with the flow and cramps. Consult your doctor when this happens.
- Passing out dark blood clots consistently
- When flow regresses to a heavy passage
A common occurrence during childbirth is a vaginal/perineal tear. This happens due to the stretching of the vaginal region as the baby comes out. This complication isn’t exclusive to first-time mothers as even mothers on their third deliveries have lived through it.
The other option to childbirth, caesarian delivery, is a process dependent on “tear”. This is because incisions are where the newborn is brought out from. Stitches are required to close up these incisions.
This tear exposes you to the many discomforts that come with the most basic of activities, such as using the restroom. You have to carefully wipe yourself with warm water so as to prevent any disease vectors from coming in close contact to the wound around the vagina or perineum.
Next is the healing process, a significant stage of which is a reduction of painful sensations. But when this doesn’t happen, or any form of development isn’t marked, it means the wound has been infected, which is totally normal given the odds of staying germ-free in a world where germs are almost synonymous with air in pervasiveness.
Treating infections at its early stages will save you a lot of money, time and stress as antibiotics are the go-to solutions.
- Painful urination: If taking a leak makes you want to pass through the eye of a needle instead, then you might want to go back to the doctor.
- Fever: High temperature, slight headaches and body aches are signs that you have a vaginal infection.
- Redness and everpresent feeling of rawness: Do not take this uncomfortable feeling in passing. Report anything that feels like the unusual.
- Pain: Pain is a constant word in the whole process of pregnancy and early stages of postpartum lifestyle. However, any pain beyond two weeks should be reported to your doctor.
The breast crawl is fundamental to the mother-child bond necessary for weaning a child. Breastfeeding does more than just provide nutrients needed for your baby, or serves as the only item on the six-month menu for it. It is an opportunity for bonding.
But as far as postpartum complications go, there is little or no regard for motherly intentions as there is a condition that makes it difficult for a mother to feed her infant.
Breast pain—mastitis—is a common problem that new mothers deal with, whether or not you decide to breastfeed. When your breasts start secreting milk, they will begin to swell, and you start to experience a high level of discomfort and will ache in that part of your body.
Because your child needs to feed, you should visit a gynaecologist or lactation consultant to help you with adjustments such as positions from where breastfeeding will be less stressful.
Despite how unpleasantness the experience is, mastitis can be treated with antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor.
You should have an appointment with the doctor if you see any of these symptoms:
- Swelling and discolouration of the breast. Mostly redness of the breast
- Unusual hear from breasts
Other challenges that occur after childbirth include constipation, embolism, stroke, cardiovascular concerns (palpitations and so on), postpartum psychosis.
Your early days with your kid will be challenging. You deal with tiredness, mood swings, pain, which are universal concerns. No rules are determining who gets what complication.
Anyone of them could be your problem. Be in tune with your body; keep watch over it— what you put around and inside it. Report any changes you see on your body, don’t be reluctant to seek counsel from medical practitioners disciplined to offer you help.
Postpartum challenges are curable for the most part and should not distract you mentally from caring for yourself and your baby.