Problems After Delivery of Your Baby (cont.)
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Check Your Symptoms
If you develop problems and your doctor has given you specific instructions to follow, be sure to follow those instructions.
Feeling tired (fatigue)
Most women feel tired after labor and delivery. Caring for a new baby, loss of sleep, and the normal physical changes you experience as your body returns to its nonpregnant condition can add to your fatigue. It is important to focus on your healing and taking care of your baby for the first 6 weeks. Start other activities slowly as you feel stronger.
To help with fatigue in the first few weeks and months after delivery:
Sleep problems are common when you are caring for a new baby. These tips may help you get a good night's sleep.
Nonprescription medicine to help relieve discomfort
Most women have some mild discomfort after delivery. You may have some cramping as your uterus returns to its nonpregnant size. If you had an episiotomy, you may have pain in your genital area. Women who have had a cesarean section (C-section) will have some pain at the incision site.
If you are breast-feeding, it is safe to use acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, to help with mild discomfort.
Breast engorgement or mastitis
If you are breast-feeding, your breasts may be sore as they fill with milk. Place ice packs on your breasts for the pain and swelling. Be sure to put a cloth between your skin and the ice pack. Some women find a hot shower or warm towels on the breasts help the pain. You can also use acetaminophen, such as Tylenol.
Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that is most commonly related to breast-feeding. This inflammation can be related to tissue injury, infection, or both. Mastitis while breast-feeding usually affects only one breast and starts as a painful area that is red or warm. Fever, chills, and flu-like symptoms or body aches can also develop. You can develop mastitis at any time while breast-feeding, but it most commonly occurs during the first 2 months after delivery, before your baby's feeding patterns become regular.
If you are not breast-feeding, do not stimulate your nipples or warm your breasts. Instead, apply cold packs, use medicine for pain and inflammation, and wear a supportive bra that fits well.
Many new mothers may feel "blue" after the birth of their baby. This may be caused by a change in hormones, not getting enough sleep, feeling too busy, or just worried about taking care of the baby.
Postpartum depression is a medical condition, not a sign of weakness. Be honest with yourself and those who care about you. Tell them about your struggle. You, your doctor, and your friends and family can team up to treat your symptoms.
Constipation and hemorrhoids
Constipation and hemorrhoids may bother you after delivery. To prevent or ease these symptoms:
If you had a tear in your genital area during delivery (episiotomy), talk to your doctor before using any nonprescription suppositories for constipation.
To treat the itching or pain of hemorrhoids:
Let your doctor know if you are having problems with constipation or hemorrhoids. He or she may recommend a nonprescription or prescription medicine to treat your hemorrhoids.
If you had mild swelling from normal fluid buildup when you were pregnant, it may last for days or weeks after you deliver. You are most likely to notice this swelling in your face, hands, or feet. As your body changes back to how it was before you were pregnant, the swelling will go away.
Just as you slowly gained weight during your pregnancy, it may take some time to lose weight after your baby is born. Eat a nutritious diet and try to exercise daily. It may take 6 to 8 weeks for you to get back to your normal activities. As the body returns to its nonpregnant condition, many women feel they can manage their weight with healthy eating and exercise. If it is hard for you to lose weight from your pregnancy, talk to your doctor about your goals. If you are breast-feeding, it is important to get the right amount of calories and nutrients for your baby.
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
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