Postpartum Recovery for Vaginal Delivery
After you have delivered your baby vaginally, you will be able to get up with assistance, right away. The nurses in the hospital will check for excessive bleeding and they will make sure that your uterus is not soft and spongy. You may continue to feel “afterpains” especially if you are breastfeeding and that means that the uterus is clamping down to compress major blood vessels so you don’t bleed to much. You will have a discharge for three to six weeks that starts out like a heavy red period and then goes to brown or pink and finally a creamy yellow.
You should start your Kegel exercises while still in the hospital and walk from day one. The nurses may apply ice to your swollen bottom ((perineum ) and teach you how to clean yourself with a spray bottle and pats, not wipes. Hemorrhoids are very common after delivery and you may bathe and shower, right away. In fact, sitting in a tub ( sitz bath ) and then applying a topical hemorrhoid ointment will really help. Using stool softeners from day one and also laxatives is the best way to get going again, without fear or discomfort.
When you get home, let your body be your guide. You can walk and take stairs and care for your baby. The more you move, the better you will feel. Make sure to schedule rest times for yourself and good nutrition and hydration will accelerate the healing process. Don’t drive until you can manage with out pain medicines. You may take walks outside, take a friend until you feel comfortable, and baby can go outside too ( with your pediatrician’s okay ), remember to use a mosquito net. Continue Kegel’s forever and hopefully the integrity of your pelvic floor will last you a lifetime.
You will be scheduled a routine postpartum appointment at six weeks and then after your provider has assured you that your uterus and cervix are back to normal, you can have intercourse, if you can find the time. It is very common for women to not be very interested in that until the baby is at least sleeping through the night and as long as you are breastfeeding, you will need a lubricant, since you aren’t producing much estrogen.
Please report fevers over 101 degrees F and foul smelling discharge and bleeding that requires a pad per hour. It is common to be very emotional for no apparent reason but if you are past two weeks postpartum and you are uncomfortable about being alone with your baby, if you cry all the time or are sure that you aren’t bonding like you “should”, call your provider. If you feel like you can’t get out of bed to feed when your baby cries or that you made a mistake taking on motherhood, call your provider. Postpartum depression is very common and very well treated, so do not suffer in silence. It’s not anyone’s fault, it just happens, sometimes.