By Dr Ila Jha
The postpartum period is defined as the period after childbirth, till 40 days of delivery. This is one of the most essential and at the same time, one of the most overlooked stages in a woman’s journey to motherhood. The first three months after childbirth is given the name of the fourth trimester. This period is very important because it sets the foundation for a woman’s long-term physical and emotional well-being.
So, let’s discuss some of the common challenges faced during this stage and how to overcome them.
Building a support system
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It is an age-old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. So, building a support network is one of the most important aspects in preparation for the postpartum period.
Raising a child is becoming difficult for a couple in nuclear families: lesser number of siblings and working and aging parents. Therefore, as soon as you are near the expected date, you should also plan where they expect to get help from and they should also be ready to reach out to family members if needed. They can also get in touch with mother support groups, who can give advice and encouragement. A postpartum doula could be useful as well.
Navigating life with a newborn
New mothers are often faced with physical and emotional challenges after childbirth. This includes physical discomfort due to delivery, sleep deprivation, a feeling of uncertainty and isolation. Sometimes they face baby blues. This includes a tendency to cry easily, a sense of overwhelm, fatigue, and irritability which usually lasts for two to three weeks. To cope with this, one has to identify the bigger factor or situation that induces these symptoms. The most common reason is lack of sleep and adequate rest, so one can take help from their partner or family member to develop a plan for coverage of night feeding. Consulting with a therapist or healthcare professional is recommended for postpartum depression, which typically persists for a duration of three to four months.
Coping with body challenges and physical recovery
Weight gain is one of the most important challenges mothers face after delivery. A decent postpartum recovery plan should therefore contain a nutritious and balanced diet, some modest activity, and assurance. Breast engorgement, constipation, and difficulty in breastfeeding are a few of the frequent issues which can be resolved after consultation with healthcare providers. Pelvic floor changes can be cured by kegel exercises, icing of the pelvic area and Sitz bath for healing of episiotomy stitches.
Information overload is a problem for new mothers. They have no idea which information is reliable or accurate and are completely perplexed. The best way to deal with this is to consult a reliable medical expert and an experienced mother and to disregard unneeded and unnecessary advice.
In the end, the postpartum period is a challenging phase in the childbirth process, but it can be made joyful and special with careful preparation, attention, and assistance from loved ones, friends, and medical professionals.
[The author is a senior consultant at the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad]
(Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs, and views expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this website are personal and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, and views of ABP News Network Pvt Ltd.)
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