Postpartum – how long does it take and how does it go?
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Postpartum – how long does it take and how does it go?

Postpartum is a very important period in a woman’s life. It begins immediately after giving birth and lasts for 6 weeks. What is puerperium? Does its duration depend on the form of delivery?

What is postpartum?

Postpartum is a period of several weeks after pregnancy and childbirth. At this time, the woman’s body returns to its previous state. Regeneration of the body during this period involves many physiological and hormonal changes. This time is very difficult and dangerous because of the rapid pace of change:

  • hormonal,
  • in the female reproductive system,
  • in the circulatory system – the amount of blood in the body decreases by about 2 liters.
source: YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YjUBp88Vs4)

Duration of the puerperium

Regardless of the form of delivery (natural or by C-section), puerperium is divided into three stages:

1. Direct puerperium – this is the first day after delivery, one of the most difficult moments in a woman’s life. The body is exhausted from 40 weeks of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum changes begin to occur. A few hours after the birth, postpartum discharge appears, which is vaginal bleeding that is the result of the uterus cleansing itself of the remaining mucus, amniotic fluid and blood.

2. Early puerperium – this is the first week after giving birth. During this time, the uterus shrinks very quickly, causing pain similar to postpartum pain. Puerperal bleeding causes great discomfort and requires the woman to maintain special intimate hygiene.

3. Late puerperium – from the second to the sixth week after giving birth. Puerperal symptoms slowly subside, the amount of bleeding decreases and so does the pain caused by the shrinking of the uterus. A woman’s sense of well-being slowly returns to normal.

The puerperium, regardless of the form of delivery, lasts the same amount of time. The duration of the puerperium is determined by the time the uterus shrinks, which takes about 6 weeks.

Postpartum after a natural birth

Postpartum after a natural childbirth is primarily a time of healing of the perineal wound – even if it is not cut, it spontaneously bursts or is damaged, so it requires stitching with dissolvable thread.

Natural childbirth is always associated with a perineal wound, which heals during the postpartum period. In order to prevent the wound of the perineum from causing discomfort, it is recommended to take care of it properly:

  • the use of postpartum pads for the first week after giving birth, which can later be replaced with sanitary towels and pads,
  • washing the perineum with gentle intimate hygiene liquids,
  • keeping the area around the wound clean and dry,
  • wearing loose, airy underwear made of natural materials,
  • avoiding sitting – if you have to sit, it is best to put a pillow under your buttocks.
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Postpartum after a caesarean section

Postpartum after a caesarean section is almost the same as after a natural birth – there is pain similar to menstrual pain, which may be accompanied by lumbar pain. The pain may increase during breastfeeding. After delivery by caesarean section bowel movements can be very difficult, then a diet rich in dietary fiber and regular hydration of the body are recommended.

During the postpartum period after a caesarean section a woman must take care of herself, for example she should not lift heavy loads. It is also important to breastfeed the baby in such a way as not to injure the surgical wound. Unfortunately, milk production may be limited after this form of delivery. Fortunately, the newborn does not need much milk at the beginning, and more frequent feedings increase lactation.

The puerperium after such a birth requires the woman to take special care of the wound. It should be washed several times a day with water and grey soap or acetanisept and airy high-waisted underwear should be worn.

The puerperium, regardless of the form of delivery, is a very difficult period in a woman’s life. The changes occurring during this time can be difficult not only for the young mother, but also for her family.

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