Starting a family is like starting another chapter of your life. It feels new and exciting, and something that feels game-changing. As an expecting mother, there’s much to look forward to in the road leading to the birth of your child. But it’s actually what comes after your pregnancy that may feel like the most challenging part of your new chapter.
Pregnancy takes a toll on all mothers. It changes your body in ways you might not expect, and these changes are so lasting that they may even carry on for months or years after your baby’s birth, or even last for a lifetime. To reduce the severity of these effects, it’s important to take into account your healthcare post-pregnancy.
Conversely, the newborn baby will also need the most care in the early weeks after their birth. This is why postnatal care is crucial to keeping both the mother and baby healthy.
What is postnatal care?
The postnatal period refers to a short period of time right after the birth of a child. It is a time when the mother’s body begins to try to It starts within an hour of delivery to at least six to eight weeks afterwards. This period is extremely risky for both newborn babies and their mothers. A significant percentage of infant and maternal deaths occur during this time. The World Health Organisation even states that it is the most critical yet most neglected period for mothers and babies.
Postnatal care, or PNC as it’s also known, is the term for the specialised medical and healthcare that mothers and newborns receive immediately after delivery. Postnatal care is the key to adapting well to the difficult circumstances that mothers and babies undergo.
New mothers in particular will experience extreme emotional and physical changes as the body readapts to life after pregnancy, like divarication of the recti, stress, postnatal depression, and much more.
Some common postnatal conditions that many mothers experience
It’s no secret that what happens after pregnancy is a period of great turbulence in your life as you adapt to living with the new member of the family. New mothers who have prepared well may have heard of a few of these conditions, but you may be surprised to learn about some of the common postnatal issues and conditions that appear in this list. Let’s delve into how pregnancy can change your body after delivery.
- Influence on sex and libido. A decrease in libido is an expected postnatal issue, because your estrogen levels will not return to pre-pregnancy levels for up to a year. The changes to your body, such as increased fatigue, can affect your desire for sexual intercourse as well. It is also normal to encounter discomfort during sex and you may even find it painful. For vaginal births, it is recommended to wait at least four weeks before resuming sexual activity, and for cesarean births, your doctor may tell you to wait for at least six weeks.
- Postnatal depression. Postnatal or postpartum depression is a condition that most people are familiar with. Also known as the “baby blues”, it can be caused by a number of factors such as the abrupt changes in hormone levels as well as the stress and anxiety that comes with taking care of a newborn. Postnatal depression affects nearly 10 percent of all women and is apparent after a few weeks to months after delivery, characterised by lack of sleep, anxiety, and other strong emotions.
- Diastasis Recti. Also known as divarication of recti, this condition refers to the widening of the gap between the rectus abdominus muscles, located in the abs or stomach region. Because of the way the body accommodates the growing baby, this is a common condition in mothers. How this condition may be diagnosed can be controversial because of the different measurements and variations in definition. A widening or protrusion of 15-25 mm can be considered abnormal depending on the circumstances of the individual.
- Stretch marks. Also a well-known condition that affects mothers, many women experience lasting stretch marks around their belly region after birth. More often than not, these marks are permanent, but there are many treatments that you can look into to lessen the visibility of such markings.
Orchard Clinic can help you get accustomed to the aftereffects of pregnancy and other important medical issues for women. Learn more about treatments for urinary incontinence, menopause, stretch marks, and more.