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Women and Family Care

Caring for mom after birth and loss

After delivery, it is important to take care of yourself even when pregnancy ends in loss.

It's important to take care of your health.

  • Grief can put a lot of stress on the body. Take extra care during this time to keep yourself healthy.
  • Good nutrition is important. Choose a variety of healthy foods. Eat nutritious snacks such as fruits and
    vegetables.
  • Try to reduce stress by lightening your schedule. Consider reducing your work hours for a while. Or try to take some time off.
  • Set aside some quiet time for yourself.
  • Don't rely on alcohol or other drugs to cope with your pain. They will only make things worse.
  • Learn some relaxation techniques; such as deep breathing, picturing peaceful scenes, meditation and
    listening to soothing music/sounds of nature. Talk to your healthcare provider to learn more.
  • It's OK to take time for yourself – to do something you enjoy. It may take time, but It's ok to laugh and find joy in your days.

The following are guidelines for your physical care.

Hygiene
If possible:

  • Shower instead of taking a bath for the first few weeks after delivery.
  • Check with your healthcare provider to see if it is okay to take baths.
  • Hot-tubs are not recommended.
  • Change sanitary pads every time you go to the bathroom.
  • Do not use tampons, other feminine hygiene products or douche during the first six weeks
    after delivery.

Perineal and episiotomy care

  • Use plain soap and water to clean the perineal area, and rinse with the squirt bottle received in the hospital.
  • Use Tucks and/or topical spray. 
  • Take sitz baths (see below).
  • Stitches dissolve by themselves.

Hemorrhoids

  • Hemorrhoids are swollen rectal veins that are irritated by constipation.
  • Comfort measures include:
    • Placing ice packs on the area.
    • Taking sitz baths. At home, fill a clean bathtub with four inches of warm water and soak for 15-20 minutes.
    • Taking stool softeners, suppositories, topical sprays, or ointments ordered by your healthcare provider.

Vaginal flow

  • Call your healthcare provider if you have increased pain or swelling, heavy bleeding or prolonged discomfort.
  • Bloody vaginal flow is normal after delivery.
  • For the first 24 hours, flow is dark red, heavier than a normal period and may have small clots.
  • On the second to third day, flow is still red, but begins to decrease in amount.
  • Flow then turns to a pink and/or brown color,no heavier than a regular period.
  • Flow then turns to yellow-white for up to six weeks after delivery.
  • Periods may begin four to eight weeks after the birth.
  • Call your healthcare provider if vaginal flow:
    • Turns to a bright red color and becomes heavier than a normal period.
    • Has a foul odor.
    • Fills a pad from front to back in one hour.
    • Contains many small clots or any large clots.

 Bowel function

  • Bowel movements often do not occur for two to three days after delivery.
  • To help soften stools, drink plenty of fluids and eat a diet high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, cereals and whole grain breads.
  • Mild laxatives or stool softeners (such as milk of magnesia) can be used if no bowel movement in three to four days.
  • When on the toilet, position yourself with feet flat. You may try a small step stool under your feet to assist in having a bowel movement.
  • Dehydration also contributes to constipation. Be sure to drink non-caffeinated fluids to assist in preventing constipation.

Urinary tract infection

  • The bladder is often irritated during labor and delivery.
  • It is common to be unable to empty bladder completely or urinate at all.
  • Germs grow when urine is left in the bladder, causing bladder or kidney infections.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms:
    • Painful urination.
    • Frequency and urgency of urination.
    • Blood in the urine.
    • Fever and chills.
    • Headache.
    • Pain on one or both sides of the back in your rib area.

Pelvic pain and incontinence

Pelvic pain and incontinence should end within six to eight weeks after you have your baby. Incontinence is not a normal part of aging or life after childbirth. Pain can develop in the pelvic floor with sex or other activities postpartum but this can be corrected. Physical therapy can be beneficial for some women to address these problems. If this continues to be an issue, discuss physical therapy with your physician. Call our physical therapy department at 970.495.8454 with questions or to schedule an appointment.

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970.495.7000
PVHS@pvhs.org

 

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