Delivering a baby puts immense strain on your body. Whether you had natural or caesarean delivery, your body undergoes a great deal of stress. Here’s the rundown of the issues that you may face in the next 6 weeks after delivery.
For new mums, being able to clock 3 hours of unbroken sleep is considered a blessing. Besides having to tend to your infant’s constant demands, your body is also recovering from childbirth, which makes mums more exhausted. Without enough rest, exhaustion can impede postpartum recovery and bring on the “baby blues”.
What can you do: Try to time your sleep when your baby sleeps. You may also enlist help (from a nanny or family member) or share parenting load with your partner. If you still feel extreme fatigue, check with your doctor to rule out a physical cause like anaemia.
#2 Incontinence (leakage)
One of the most annoying after-effects is urinary and/or faecal incontinence. The pregnancy, labour and delivery weaken your pelvic muscles, making it harder to control your urine flow. Your hormonal changes may play a part too. Slack pelvic muscles and affected nerves might also contribute to involuntary faecal release.
What you can do: Incontinence improves with time, but you can speed recovery by doing Kegel exercises and losing the extra kilos. You can also turn to physiotherapy treatment. Just don’t cut down your fluid intake, which causes dehydration and prones you to urinary tract infection.
#3 Hair loss
Don’t panic if you are shedding lots of hair. During pregnancy, you shed far less hair due to surging hormones, but your body will make up for more loss after you’ve given birth. This “new” hair loss phase usually lasts for 3-6 months.
What you can do: You can continue taking your prescribed supplements, eating well and caring for your tresses. Hair tonics can also be applied to enhance your hair growth.
If you expect your back troubles to ease after childbirth, you may have to be patient. Many mums have to endure back pain, which may be caused by strained ligaments that have not yet tightened up, coupled with stretched-out abdominal muscles. Having to carry baby around and breastfeeding posture also put further strain on your sore back.
What you can do: Besides back exercises, you’ll also need to correct bad posture and habits, such as slouching. Alternate your arm to carry your baby and consider wearing baby in a sling or wrap.
Once you begin to shake off these issues, you’re near to a full recovery from the effects of childbirth. You’ll feel much better and in control.