May 22, 2024
a woman and her baby in her lap.

Childbirth can be a beautiful thing, but it comes with many unwanted health problems. Every year, at least 40 million women continue to suffer health problems after childbirth. Most people only take care of the baby and neglect the health of the woman who gave birth.

We hear about pregnancy-related deaths, which are defined as deaths that occur while a woman is pregnant or within a year after the pregnancy ends. The number one reason for pregnancy-related deaths is not teaching women about prepartum and postpartum health problems. 

Why Do Women Endure Complications After Giving Birth?

The most common cause of pregnancy-related health issues comes from the lack of awareness. Postpartum recovery is the most important thing after childbirth. However, most mothers don’t know the difference between normal recovery and serious health issues. Hence, they don’t visit the doctor until the problem gets more serious.

It is common to feel a slight discomfort in your body after giving birth. A woman will get belly cramps or fatigue that can last up to a week after childbirth. However, if someone has other physical issues such as chest pain or weird abdominal pain, which may seem normal but can be a serious health problem.

What Are The Postpartum Health Problems?

Postpartum health problems are far more dangerous than prepartum health problems. A study indicates that many women experience long-term health problems after pregnancy for months or years after giving birth. 

These include pain during sex (dyspareunia) affecting more than a third (35%) of postpartum women, low back pain (32%), anal incontinence (19%), urinary incontinence (8-31%), anxiety (9-24%), depression (11-17%), perineal pain (11%), fear of childbirth (tokophobia) (6-15%), and secondary infertility (11%).

These are the common postpartum health problems:

1. Cardiovascular Diseases: Pre-existing cardiovascular conditions or the strain of pregnancy on the cardiovascular system can contribute to complications.

2. Other Medical Conditions Reflecting Pre-existing Illnesses: Underlying health issues such as diabetes, chronic hypertension, or autoimmune disorders may increase the risk of maternal mortality.

3. Infection or Sepsis: Infections can occur during pregnancy or childbirth, leading to systemic inflammation and, if left untreated, progressing to sepsis.

4. Excessive Bleeding after Giving Birth (Hemorrhage): Complications during labor and delivery, such as tears or issues with the placenta, can result in severe bleeding.

5. Cardiomyopathy: Changes in the heart’s structure and function during pregnancy, coupled with pre-existing heart conditions, may contribute to cardiomyopathy.

6. Thrombotic Pulmonary Embolism: Pregnancy increases the risk of blood clot formation, which can travel to the lungs, causing pulmonary embolism.

7. Stroke: Changes in blood flow and clotting factors during pregnancy can contribute to the occurrence of strokes.

8. High Blood Pressure (Hypertensive) Disorders of Pregnancy: Conditions like preeclampsia and eclampsia, characterized by elevated blood pressure, can lead to severe complications.

9. Amniotic Fluid Embolism: The exact cause is not fully understood, but it’s thought to occur when amniotic fluid or fetal material enters the maternal bloodstream, triggering an immune response.

10. Anesthesia Complications: Anesthesia-related complications may arise from individual responses to anesthesia drugs, pre-existing health conditions, or medical errors.

How long does it take for your body to go back to normal after birth?

Your body should be able to function fully after 6 months of giving birth. It’s not just physical stress that women suffer after pregnancy; their mental and emotional stress can get worse during this time. Also, not everyone’s body functions the same way, meaning some women can take one year to recover fully.

During the recovery process, women may feel high levels of exhaustion, urinary incontinence, back pain, etc. Moreover,  after birth complications for mother include pelvic pain, lose strength, and pelvic floor muscles.

So, how to recover your body after childbirth? Take rest as much as possible. As a mother, you may not get enough sleep. However, try to sleep for at least 7-8 hours, enough for your body to heal. Eat as healthy as possible during the postpartum days. Chinese Postpartum healthy meals have been curing women’s health issues for decades. Try to do some light yoga’s to make your body more flexible to daily routines.

How does a woman’s body change after pregnancy?

A woman’s body goes through the negative effects of giving birth that reflect on her overall body. Although some of the changes are natural, they can come with discomforts.

Engorged breasts and sore nipples are common in the initial days. Your Bowel movements might be delayed, which can cause discomfort, especially if there are hemorrhoids or surgical stitches. During the healing process, sitting, walking, coughing, or sneezing may cause pain in the perineum, particularly if it was cut or torn during delivery.

You may see Vaginal discharge with heavy clots and periods will be heavier than usual. Over time, it changes to white or yellow before stopping after several weeks. Weight loss, around 12-13 pounds, happens as the body sheds the baby’s weight, placenta, and amniotic fluid within the first week, reducing excess water weight.

The body’s adjustment to new hormone levels may lead to hot and cold flashes, affecting the internal thermostat. Stretching of muscles during delivery can result in urinary incontinence, making it challenging to control bowel movements, especially after a long labor and vaginal delivery. The uterus contracts for a few days after giving birth, particularly during breastfeeding or with medication to reduce bleeding.

What About Postpartum Depression?

One of the main life-threatening complications after giving birth is postpartum depression. Physical issues are visible outside, but internal issues lead to more cases.

Postpartum Depression also known as PPD is one of the health problems after childbirth. Emotionally, a woman may go through a range of feelings, from joy and pleasure to moments of sadness and crying. These periods of sadness and tearfulness are commonly known as “baby blues” and typically lessen in intensity over the initial two weeks post-delivery.

Most women neglect most of the postpartum depression symptoms. And some women don’t feel comfortable talking about their emotional feelings with their families. According to a study by NIH, “As many as half of PPD in new mothers go undiagnosed because of conflict in privacy and not wanting to disclose to close family members. There is also a stigma around new mothers in that disclosure may lead to abandonment and fear of lack of support.”

Around 6.5% to 20% of women suffer from postpartum depression after childbirth. It can start in the 6th week after giving birth. While many people only focus on physical health problems after childbirth, they often neglect the most important thing. 

The study also shows, African American and Hispanic mothers experienced the onset of symptoms within the first two weeks after delivery.

Read More: Get rid of Depression from life through Moral Stories

How to Prevent Postpartum Health Problems after Childbirth

First, you have to know the postpartum symptoms to prevent it. Here are the postpartum symptoms not to ignore:

1. Severe Pain: Intense or persistent pain, especially if it’s unrelated to typical postpartum discomfort.

2. Heavy or Prolonged Vaginal Bleeding: Bleeding that is excessive, doesn’t improve, or returns to bright red after initially slowing down.

3. Fever or Chills: A temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, as it may indicate an infection.

4. Severe Headaches or Visual Changes: Persistent or severe headaches, accompanied by visual disturbances, may be concerning.

5. Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, which may indicate a serious issue like a blood clot.

6. Chest Pain: Any chest pain or discomfort should be evaluated promptly.

7. Thoughts of Harming Yourself or the Baby: If you experience thoughts of self-harm or harm to the baby, seek help immediately.

8. Extreme Mood Swings: Severe mood swings or emotional changes that interfere with daily functioning.

9. Persistent Abdominal Pain or Swelling: Continuous abdominal pain or swelling that doesn’t improve or worsens over time.

10. Difficulty Urinating or Painful Urination: Problems with urination or pain during urination may indicate an issue.

You should not ignore these life-threatening complications after birth. Seek medical treatment as soon as you get one of these issues.

Most woman also suffers from extreme vomiting after giving birth. Postpartum vomiting causes by hormonal shifts, anesthesia side effects, dehydration, medication, gastrointestinal issues, migraines, stress, overeating, or gallbladder problems. Persistent or severe symptoms warrant immediate medical attention to identify the cause and ensure proper treatment for a woman’s postpartum well-being.

Read More: Antibiotics & Gut Health: Uncover Acidity’s Hidden Culprit!

Here are ways to prevent health issues after childbirth

1. Regular Prenatal Care: Attend all prenatal appointments for monitoring and early detection.

2. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a balanced diet, stay physically active, and manage stress.

3. Educate Yourself: Learn about postpartum changes and potential health issues.

4. Seek Support: Build a support network for emotional and practical assistance.

5. Postpartum Check-ups: Attend follow-up appointments for thorough assessments.

6. Proper Hygiene: Practice good hygiene to prevent infections.

7. Nutritional Supplements: Follow healthcare provider recommendations for vitamins and minerals.

8. Adequate Rest: Prioritize rest and sleep for physical and mental recovery.

9. Breastfeeding: If possible, breastfeed to promote both maternal and infant health.

10. Address Mental Health: Seek help for postpartum depression or anxiety promptly.

FAQ

1. What are common health problems after childbirth?

 Common postpartum health problems include perineal pain, urinary incontinence, postpartum depression, and issues related to breastfeeding.

2. How long do postpartum health problems typically last?

The duration varies, but many issues like perineal pain and hormonal fluctuations improve within weeks, while others may require more extended attention.

3. When should I seek medical help for postpartum health problems?

Seek prompt medical attention if you experience severe pain, heavy bleeding, persistent mood changes, or any symptoms impacting daily life.

4. Can postpartum health problems affect breastfeeding?

 Yes, certain issues like engorged breasts, nipple pain, or mastitis can impact breastfeeding. Addressing these concerns promptly can support breastfeeding success.

5. Are postpartum health problems preventable?

 While not all issues can be prevented, proactive measures like regular prenatal care, a healthy lifestyle, and seeking timely medical attention can reduce the risk and severity of postpartum health problems.

read more: How To Achieve Korean Glass Skin At Home?-A Comprehensive Guide

Final Thoughts

It’s not that women are suffering health problems after childbirth. The pain during pregnancy can make women suffer more. It’s the lack of awareness and medical support that makes a woman suffer even after childbirth.

As a family member, you are responsible for taking care of the new mother. Make sure her physical and emotional health is secure with you. Go to the postpartum checkup regularly with her and make sure she is taking care of herself.

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