There are a lot of changes that occur in a very short space of time following the birth of a baby, and it is important to consider the types of support you may need.
The type of support needed is different for everyone but could include having someone at home to help with meals, washing or helping out with other children. It is important not to be afraid to ask for help.
Postnatal exercises and pelvic floor
Postnatal exercises will help tone the muscles of your pelvic floor and tummy. They will also get you moving and feeling generally fitter.
Physiotherapy advice and management following a vaginal birth
Physiotherapy advice and management following a caesarean section
Bleeding after birth
After birth, you will bleed from your vagina regardless of whether you have a vaginal birth or caesarean section. You will experience heavy, bright red blood loss immediately after child birth however this should gradually decrease and lighten in colour in the days following the birth of your baby. It is important to note that you may experience vaginal discharge/spotting for four to six weeks after delivery. Do not use tampons until after your six week postnatal check as they can cause infections. While breastfeeding, you may notice that the bleeding is redder and heavier during the afterbirth pains. Gradually the bleeding will become a brownish colour and will reduce over a few weeks.
If it has been more than 24 hours since birth and you are still soaking more than one maxi pad every two hours, you may be bleeding too much. Contact your midwife, GP or 13 Health (13 43 25 84) if:
- you start to lose clots
- you have to change your pads more than hourly
- your blood loss becomes bright red and heavy again
- the blood loss has an offensive smell
- you are worried for any reason.
How you feel – emotional health
“Postnatal or baby blues” are very common and are experienced by more than 80% of new mothers. The term refers to a range of feelings which may be experienced around the third or fourth day after your baby is born and is thought to be caused by a number of factors such as sudden hormonal changes, breastfeeding hormones, sleep deprivation and the process of adjusting to parenthood. Baby blues can appear in many forms, from being irritable, tearful, or anxious, experiencing fluctuating mood changes, being overtired, or suffering extreme feelings of sadness or loneliness.
Depression and anxiety can occur at any time in your life and can often come to the surface with major events like pregnancy or having a baby. It is important to keep a check on how you are feeling emotionally and discuss any concerns with your health professional.
It is important to see your GP if you (or your partner) are experiencing any of these feelings for more than two weeks:
- feeling low a lot of the time, anxious or tense
- feeling guilty
- feeling that things are hopeless
- not enjoying things you normally enjoy
- crying all the time
- finding it hard to sleep, concentrate or make decisions
- wanting to harm yourself.