What to expect after a vaginal delivery?
Your newborn may be your top priority-but postpartum care counts, too from vaginal soreness to urinary problems, here’s what to expect as you recover from a vaginal delivery
Pregnancy changes your body in more ways than you might have guessed, and it doesn’t stop when the baby is born. Here’s what to expect after a vaginal delivery.
If you had an episiotomy or vaginal tear during delivery, the wound might hurt for a few weeks. Extensive tears might take longer to heal. In the meantime, you can help promote healing:
If sitting is uncomfortable, sit on a pillow or padded ring.
Use a squeeze bottle to pour warm water over your vulva as you’re urinating.
Cool the wound with an ice pack, take pain relievers or stool softeners as recommended by your health care provider.
You’ll have a vaginal discharge (lochia) for a number of weeks after delivery. Expect a bright red, heavy flow of blood for the first few days. The discharge will gradually taper off, becoming watery and changing from pink or brown to yellow or white.
Contact us if:
- You have heavy vaginal bleeding
- The discharge has a foul odor
- You have a fever of 100.4 F (38 C) or higher
You might feel contractions, sometimes called after pain, during the first few days after delivery. These contraction-which often resemble menstrual cramps – help prevent excessive bleeding by compressing the blood vessels in the uterus
Contact your health care provider if you have a fever or if your abdomen is tender to the touch.
Swelling or bruising of the tissues surrounding the bladder and urethra can leadto difficulty urinating.
Contact your health care provider if you have any signs or symptoms of a urinary tract infection. For example:
A strong, persistent urge to urinate
A burning sensation when urinating
Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
Pregnancy and birth stretch the connective tissue at the base of the bladder and cause nerve and muscle damage to the bladder or urethra. In the meantime, wear sanitary pads and do Kegel exercises to help tone your pelvic floor muscles.
To do kegels, tighten your pelvic muscles as if you’re stopping your stream of urine.
Hemorrhoids and bowel movements
If you notice pain during bowel movements and feel swelling near your anus, you might have-stretched and swollen veins in anus or lower rectum.
If you find yourself avoiding bowel movements out of fear of hurting your perineum or aggravating the pain of hemorrhoids or you episiotomy wound, take steps to keep your stools soft and regular. Eat foods high in fiber-including fruits, vegetables and whole grains-and drink plenty of water. Ask your health care provider about a stool softener or an osmotic laxative, if needed.
Inability to control bowel movements (fecal incontinence). Frequent kegel exercises can help with mild fecal leakage.
Sore breasts and leaking milk
Your breasts might become firm, swollen and tender (engorgement).place cold washcloths or ice packs on your breasts. Over-the-counter pain relievers might help, too.
wear a firm, supportive bra, such as sports bra, to help stop milk production.
Don’t pump or rub your breasts, which will cause your breasts to produce more milk.
If your breasts leak between feeding, wear nursing pads inside your bra to help keep your shirt dry.
If you’re not breast-feeding your baby, wear a firm, supportive bra to help stop milk production.
Hair loss and skin changes
During pregnancy, elevated hormone levels put normal hair loss on hold. The result is often an extra-lush head of hair-but now it’s payback time. Hair loss typically stops within six months.
Expect any skin that darkened during pregnancy-such as the line down your abdomen (lineanigra)-to slowly fade as well.
The postpartum checkup
About six weeks after delivery, your health care provider will check your vagina, cervix and uterus to make sure you’re healing well. He or she might do a breast exam and check your weight and blood pressure, too. This is a great time to talk about resuming sexual activity, birth control, breast-feeding and how you’re adjusting to life with a new baby. You might also ask about kegel exercises to help tone your pelvic floor muscles.
Clothes for baby
We provide pack comfortable clothes for baby.