After the birth you will certainly be completely exhausted for a few days. Use the time in the clinic to recover a little more, because there will be many sleepless nights before your child settles into a regular sleep rhythm.
A newborn baby demands a lot from its mother, especially in the first weeks. Breastfeeding on demand (sometimes every two hours, at any time of the day or night) will become exhausting.
In most hospitals, your baby will be taken out of the room temporarily at your request and cared for so that you can get some rest.
Your body will go through some changes as a result of the hormone levels dropping dramatically. For your part, consciously take care of your own well-being: Eat a healthy diet and rest as often as possible.
If you want to get up and active soon after birth, this is only good. Exercising as soon as possible after giving birth is very important because it will help you get back into shape more quickly. All bodily functions, such as z. B. of the bladder and bowels, normalize more quickly.
Even if you had a cesarean section, you should start moving around a few hours after the surgery. This stimulates your blood circulation and prevents the formation of blood clots (thromboses) in your legs or lungs.
During pregnancy, the muscles of the entire abdominal region are stretched to such an extent that your abdominal wall appears very flabby to you. Gradually, with the appropriate postpartum exercises, your abdomen will flatten and your abdominal muscles will become firmer again.
The baby blues
About three-quarters of all mothers experience a period of low mood or sadness after giving birth, which typically begins about three days after the delivery. This condition is called crying days, mild postpartum depression, or baby blues. Other symptoms are weepiness, abrupt mood swings, irritability, worrying and exhaustion.
The reason for this is the extreme change in your hormonal balance after birth. But also personal life circumstances (insecurities in the social and financial environment) can be responsible for the baby blues. Individual factors, z. B. The desire to do everything right and perfectly, and yet not being able to do it, also contribute to it. The so-called rooming-in (child is in the same room) counteracts the depressive moods.
Mild postpartum depression is usually over after about a week. It works best if you get as much active and moral support as possible from your partner, family and friends during this time. Avoid anything that puts too much strain on you and do not overexert yourself. Take some time for yourself. Also give yourself a rest once in a while to recharge your batteries.
Healthy eating and light physical exercises also relieve tension. You should also occasionally give your baby to someone you trust, get out of the house, and meet with friends. This will give you new strength and you will soon regain your balance.
Even up to 6 months after the end of the breastfeeding period, such a so-called post-partum upset can still occur. If your depression persists, it may be a more serious form of postpartum depression, perhaps even postpartum psychosis. You should then talk to your midwife or gynecologist as soon as possible. gynecologist as soon as possible.
The breast in the postpartum period
On the third or fourth day after birth, your breasts will swell a lot and feel heavier and more sensitive, and probably even hurt. This is a clear sign that the milk is coming in. You can get relief with the help of cool compresses or curd wraps.
The milk flow will start better at the beginning of breastfeeding if you put a warm towel over your breast or take a warm shower beforehand. A well-fitting nursing bra, which should ideally be cotton, also takes away some of the breast tension. Nursing pads absorb leaking breast milk. After breastfeeding, a cold washcloth or cold pack is very beneficial.
The lactation lasts only a few days. If there is pain in the breast more than ten days after birth, there are other reasons: A milk stasis may have occurred due to a blocked milk duct, or sore nipples may have allowed germs to enter the mammary gland tissue, causing an infection called mastitis.
In mothers who do not want to or cannot breastfeed, the breast will decrease in size approximately one week after birth. Until then, a good support bra helps with aching breasts. If you do not want to breastfeed, do not pump milk for relief under any circumstances. This will only stimulate the mammary glands to produce more milk. In the past, breastfeeding was often done with the help of medication. However, these preparations sometimes have unpleasant side effects and can even be dangerous in some cases. In the U.S., the most commonly administered drug has been withdrawn from use. Milk production may also resume after stopping the drug. For these reasons, natural methods of weaning are finding more supporters today.
If you have mastitis, your breasts feel hot, are swollen, may be red, and are very sensitive to touch. Mastitis often develops as a result of lactation congestion or sore, cracked nipples. Most often, mastitis is also associated with headaches and flu-like symptoms (fever and chills), as well as enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit.
To maintain milk production and flow, you should still continue to breastfeed or pump milk, every 2 to 3 hours. Rest between breastfeeding is good for you. If the symptoms have not improved within 6 to 8 hours, you should consult a lactation consultant, your midwife or your doctor, or your doctor’s office. Contact your doctor. Only in rare cases certain antibiotics are necessary, but they are not harmful for your baby. You can still continue breastfeeding. First, however, a drug is often given to weaken the milk production and at the same time have an anti-inflammatory effect. The dosage is much lower than that for weaning.
Breast abscesses occur when an infection develops in a blocked milk duct. The breast hurts and is very sensitive in a circumscribed area. Sometimes a red spot can be seen on the skin. Try to continue breastfeeding and keep the milk flow going. However, you should also inform your midwife or your gynecologist or. Your gynecologist. You may need to be treated with antibiotics. In severe cases, even minor surgery is necessary to open the blocked duct. Small red spots on the skin can also sometimes be observed when the milk supply is high.
The weekly flow
The initially bloody discharge in the first weeks after birth is called "lochia," or "postpartum flow". It shows that your uterus is contracting well and returning to its normal size. The tissue in the uterus, especially where the placenta has detached, heals and excretes blood, secretions and dead tissue fragments in the process. Normally, menstrual flow lasts no more than four weeks. However, this varies from individual to individual and also depends on whether you are breastfeeding or not. For breastfeeding mothers, menstrual flow usually stops earlier.
The postpartum flow is usually quite heavy and bright red with few blood clots in the first few days. If you are breastfeeding, the discharge can be even stronger and take on a more intense red color. Over time, the weekly flow becomes weaker. Its color changes from red to pink or brown at the end of the first week; later, it may become yellowish or completely colorless.
In the first few minutes of breastfeeding, the lochia becomes much stronger. Contractions of the uterus are triggered by the release of oxytocin during delivery. These are the "afterpains or "stimulus contractions. It is important for the regression of the uterus, because the lining of the uterus is squeezed out like a sponge. This prevents secretions from building up in the uterine cavity, which could lead to infection.
If there is excessive, heavy or prolonged bleeding with larger blood clots or pieces of tissue, even between breastfeeding, you need to consult your midwife or gynecologist immediately or. contact your gynecologist. It is possible that part of the placenta has remained in the uterus. At this point, the wound in the uterine wall cannot heal, causing this increased bleeding. You should consult your midwife or gynecologist or your doctor. Also inform your gynecologist if the lochia smells unpleasant. Postpartum usually smells inconspicuously bland. Any sign of odor can be a sign of infection in the uterus.
During lactation, it is better to wear pads (underpads) instead of tampons to minimize the risk of infection.
Most obstetricians and midwives do not mind a shower with a mild spray, even in the first few days after birth. You should wait at least one to two weeks before taking full baths.
Many gynecologists advise against sexual intercourse as long as the postpartum flow continues, so that no infections are transmitted. In the meantime, studies have shown that although lochia does not contain bacteria until the end of the third week after birth, infections after sexual intercourse do not seem to be more frequent even before this time.
Pain after birth
If you had a perineal tear, an episiotomy or a cesarean section during childbirth, pain in the puerperium is unfortunately unavoidable.
Mothers with a perineal tear or suture will probably feel a burning pain when urinating and will therefore be reluctant to go to the toilet. In this case, it often helps to drink plenty of fluids to dilute the urine. Less concentrated urine is less aggressive, and this makes the burning sensation more bearable.
If the pain is severe, you may also be prescribed a painkiller. When sitting, inflatable rings or pillows specially designed for this purpose help.
Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles can also speed up the healing of cuts and sutures. However, even if you were lucky enough to have survived childbirth entirely without a tear or suture, vaginal soreness or tenderness is normal in the first few days after a delivery.
Cramps or contractions in the abdomen are normal. They are still part of the postpartum period when your uterus is regressing. Uterine contractions are also noticeable during breastfeeding. This has a very good effect: the weekly flow is increased and the susceptibility to infections is decreased. In addition, the hormone oxytocin released during this process causes the milk ducts in the breast to contract, which in turn causes the breast milk or breast fluid to flow out. the colostrum (the milk in the first days after birth) is carried more easily and quickly.
Constipation in the postpartum period
Similar to the beginning of pregnancy, the hormonal changes cause a change in muscle tone in the abdomen. This can affect digestion and bowel movements. Some women also suffer from constipation because they try to hold back their bowel movements after giving birth for fear of pain.
If you haven’t had an bowel movement for a few days, you should do something about the constipation – but don’t try to force a bowel movement. Hemorrhoids occur quite frequently after childbirth and are only aggravated by heavy pushing.