Postpartum blues, also referred to as “baby blues” is a common problem in almost 60 to 80 percent women. It is a mild and temporary form of depression with symptoms like mood swings, lethargy, feelings of loss, frustration, irritability, unexplained weeping, and insomnia.
The fluctuating hormone levels in the body are primarily responsible for mood and behavior changes after giving birth. Also, factors like stress and lack of sleep after a draining day of taking care of your newborn baby may contribute to postpartum blues.
While it is common to experience postartum blues or “baby blues” during the first couple of weeks following deliver, if the symptoms of depression persist then you could be suffering from postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is a type of clinical depression that affects women within the first few months after childbirth. Also referred to as postpartum major depression (PMD), it occurs in approximately 10 percent of childbearing women.
In postnatal depression, a woman may have signs like feeling down, not enjoying things that she used to like before, anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite and low self-esteem.
In such cases, it is important to talk to your doctor about it to treat the problem quickly.
With all the pushing and contortions of labor, it is very natural to feel washed out, tired and even painful. Pain can be felt in the ribs, abdomen and back as well as near your private parts.
After delivery, the uterus is shrinking back to its normal size and position, and this causes intense pain as it contracts down. After childbirth, the uterus is hard and weighs about 2½ pounds, but it goes down to just 2 ounces after about six weeks.
The pain feels like mild labor contractions, and often happens during breastfeeding. This is mainly due to the release of the hormone oxytocin, which encourages your uterus to contract.
The pain will be greater if you have given birth by cesarean, which is a serious, major surgery. Recovering from a cesarean takes more time.
The tearing during vaginal birth also will cause a lot of discomfort during the healing process.
The healing process varies from person to person, but in general, the pain or discomfort becomes more manageable about one to two weeks after giving birth. By six weeks, the pain will vanish completely.
To relieve pain and soreness:
Lie down as much as you can, so that the pressure is taken off your bottom.
Put a cold compress on your perineum to reduce pain.
Rest whenever you feel the need, and give your body time to heal.
Continue having a warm bath daily for at least a month.
Start doing pelvic floor exercises as soon as possible.
If the cramping or pain persists, call your doctor immediately. It could be a sign of infection or another problem that requires medical attention.
Painful, large and swollen breasts are something that most new moms have to deal with.
Initially after childbirth, the breasts are soft as they contain a little colostrum, the rich, creamy first milk full of antibodies that help protect your baby from infection. However, after a few days as the breasts start making milk, they may feel hot, swollen and tender.
During this stage, the nipples become very sensitive and feeding may become extremely uncomfortable. This may even contribute to early weaning.
However, at this time, breast milk production tends to operate on a supply-and-demand system. So, try to breastfeed more and, with time, the discomfort and pain will be gone.
A 2015 study published in the International Breastfeeding Journal found that women who received intravenous fluids during labor had higher levels of breast edema postpartum and rated their breasts as firmer and more tender than women who did not receive intravenous fluids.
If you have a fever and your breasts are red and warm, don’t ignore it. This can be a sign of mastitis and breast abscess, both painful infections that need to be treated with antibiotics.
Many women suffer from vaginal dryness after childbirth. This problem is also experienced by many women during pregnancy.
Vaginal dryness can give any woman a difficult time, but bear in mind that it will gradually resolve on its own, after a few months.
Vaginal dryness mainly occurs due to ongoing changes in the hormone levels during and after pregnancy. Once the hormonal balance is regained, the problem of vaginal dryness reduces and disappears.
Along with hormonal changes, breastfeeding can cause vaginal dryness. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the problem will persist.
According to a 2000 study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 83 percent of female participants experienced sexual problems in the first three months after delivery and postpartum vaginal dryness is one of the reasons behind it.
To help deal with this problem, make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep the body hydrated. Also, avoid douches and personal hygiene sprays, which can irritate sensitive vaginal tissues.