Carrying one’s child inside a mother’s womb is grueling in itself, but as a mother, you knew the challenge has just begun. After nine long months, you have to undergo excruciatingly painful labor so that your baby can finally breathe its first in the outside world. Giving birth to a person is one of the most rewarding experiences that a woman can have. It is a beautiful thing to bring a new life into the world, no matter how painful the process may be.
Then again, it’s still just the beginning. After giving birth, there are still many things you need to deal with aside from taking care of your newborn – starting from allowing yourself to heal and avoid future complications. A report from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that about 700 pregnancy-related deaths are recorded each year — 3 out of 5 of these deaths could have been avoided. This data implies that mothers are still at risk of dying despite surviving the labor process due to complications caused by simply not doing and observing the do’s and don’t’s of postpartum. We will share with you some things we should avoid after giving birth.
AVOID BRUSHING OFF THE RED FLAGS
The most valuable tip that we can share with you is to listen to your body. Although it is pretty expected to experience pain, discomfort, and mood swings after birthing, seeking your doctor’s advice must be imperative, especially if the discomfort you feel persists for long periods and is strangely excessive in the first few weeks postpartum. Listen to the warning signs your body is giving you, as being extra cautious could save you from unforeseen complications. You can expect these physical discomforts after giving birth:
- Hot and cold flashes
- Sore breasts
- Muscular pains
- Urinary or fecal incontinence
- Vaginal discharge (lochia)
- Weight change
We have mentioned that these things are expected a week after labor, but there are indicators as to WHEN to get immediate medical help. See your doctor when you are having:
- excessive bleeding (when you bleed too much that you soak a pad every hour for two hours)
- zero bleeding (no bleeding at all)
- clots that are a quarter or larger
- foul odor coming off your vagina
- a high fever (100.4°F /38°C or above)
- swelling, redness, and discharge from episiotomy or incision site (these are signs of infection)
- difficulties and severe pain while peeing
- frequent nausea and vomiting
- visual disturbances and hallucinations
- harmful thoughts (suicide, depression, tendency to harm your baby)
- frequent, severe headaches
- extreme discomfort in leg muscles
- shortness of breath (immediately call 911)
AVOID SELF-MEDICATING AND GOOGLING YOUR HEALTH
Reading something over the internet for some health tips like this one is a wise thing to do – but only if you were just preparing and planning to educate yourself about the things you are to expect. However, when faced with a health emergency such as those mentioned above, no internet article can replace the advice from an experienced, well-trained doctor. When you and your baby exhibit strangely excessive postpartum behaviors, you have to seek professional help.
AVOID DOING STRENUOUS CHORES AND STRAINING YOUR BODY
You have just undergone a physically demanding process of giving birth, and obviously, doing heavy lifting right after that is a no-no. It is possible to feel obligated to do the household chores because that’s what our motherly instinct tells us to do. However, it won’t be wise to strain your body by doing so as it may trigger bleeding and reopening of wounds caused by labor. It can damage the stitches, and it can be dreadfully painful. Ask help from your relatives or husband to take care of those physically demanding chores while still healing.
The same goes for when you poop. Avoid straining hard as this will likewise cause the same repercussions mentioned previously. Take stool softener for a few days and drink lots of water to facilitate it.
AVOID SWIMMING DURING THE FIRST FEW WEEKS
Submerging in a pool or a bathtub full of water can be your greatest regret. The water can interact with your open wound and could bring bacteria along with it, causing infection. While showers are not discouraged, being extra careful when you wash your body can prevent infection problems in the future. Ask your doctor’s advice as to when you can finally go swimming, although your best bet might not after six weeks.
AVOID HAVING SEX
Sex is a physically straining activity itself, and that alone should keep you from doing it weeks after labor. Not only can it stress the body, but it can also introduce harmful bacteria inside you, causing infection and slowing down your healing process. Physical and emotional control is the key. A
AVOID CONSUMING ‘BAD’ FOODS AND BEVERAGES
When nursing your newborn baby, what you eat is what he gets. Eat healthy foods that boost your overall wellbeing instead of consuming inappropriate foods and drinks like alcohol and fish meat with high mercury content. Alcohol dehydrates your body which makes it difficult for you to produce milk for your infant. It can also interact with the medicines you take as you try to heal. Consume only foods that are appropriately processed and rich in vitamins and minerals to give the nourishment you need while breastfeeding your child.
AVOID FEELING BAD ABOUT YOURSELF
Postpartum emotions can take you on a roller-coaster ride. Nonetheless, please do not feel bad for yourself or be embarrassed to feel such emotions as they are normal after giving birth, undergoing that great ordeal. When you find yourself crying out of frustration because your baby won’t stop crying, do not blame it on yourself or your baby. The same goes for when you feel a sudden panic and urge to check on your newborn or be easily irritated by minor stuff. It is always optimal to discuss the matter with your doctor and take postpartum emotions with grace as, just like the physical wounds you try to heal, they, too, will not last.