Delivering a healthy baby is one of the most rewarding experiences for your physicians, but every caregiver understands that nurturing your new child is not always easy. Our empathy motivates us to care for you beyond delivery by calling you after two weeks with your baby. If you need help dealing with postpartum depression or physical symptoms, schedule an appointment to discuss solutions with your doctor.
Breastfeeding can be a great way to nurture and bond with your child, but it’s normal for first-time moms to find breastfeeding challenging. Your caregiver can help you identify issues and access resources including lactation consultants, safe medicines, and over-the-counter creams to nurture that bond.
Breast health is important during breastfeeding because of the potential for infection, or mastitis. Symptoms of mastitis include fever, chills, aches, redness or thickening on the breast. To avoid infection, keep the breasts dry and soft. There are various creams and products available at most stores. If breastfeeding causes pain, call your caregiver and consider pumping in the meantime.
Getting Your Body Back
During the course of your pregnancy, your skin stretches over your expanding abdomen. After pregnancy, it may take a little while for the skin to shrink to its pre-pregnancy state. Prior to delivery, core-strengthening exercises will help the delivery process and speed recovery. Hydration, good nutrition and adequate sleep are vital to losing weight, feeling well and getting your body back after pregnancy. You should allow your body about six weeks to heal before starting any vigorous exercise. Exercising too soon could cause heavy bleeding or lead to infection. It is important that you take care of yourself so you are prepared to take care of your baby and family. Your caregiver may recommend that you:
- Sleep when the baby is sleeping
- Divide household duties among other family members
- Take vitamins
- Eat frequent, small meals with snacks and have a balance of protein, fluids, veggies, fruits and other complex carbohydrates
You may have some common concerns about your health and body after having a baby. Call Clinic Sofia to discuss pain, bleeding, swelling, exercise, bowel movements, sex, and trouble sleeping so that you can be healthy and enjoy your new baby.
While postpartum depression is common, it is serious and treatable. Many women experience the “baby blues” for a few weeks after having a child. If the blues last longer than two weeks, you may have postpartum depression. Symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- Feeling sad, anxious or “empty”
- Lack of energy, feeling very tired
- Lack of interest in normal activities
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty or worthless
- Feeling moody or irritable
- Problems concentrating or making simple decisions
- Thoughts about hurting your baby, even if you will not act on them
- Thoughts about death or suicide
A member of your health care team from Clinic Sofia will call you about two weeks after delivery to assess for postpartum depression and address any other concerns. We can provide you access to group therapy and medicine safe enough for breastfeeding.
If you might be suffering from postpartum depression, it is important to get help. Understand that many parents feel overwhelmed with their new responsibilities. You do not have to feel shame about finding motherhood difficult. Talk to your healthcare provider, call an emergency support line or ask a loved one to help you get the care you need. Your caregivers and loved ones can help you feel like yourself again so that you can enjoy being the mother of your new infant.