The Postpartum Period…a few things they never mentioned


by Dale Ho

As the saying goes…”There are some things better left unsaid,” however in most cases knowing what to expect can help ease some of the fears and anxieties we feel when placed in a situation much like ‘the postpartum period.’

Are certain topics taboo or just too embarrassing to discuss?  I guess no one in the group wants to be the one to start a conversation off on the topic of hemorrhoids!?

For example…who knew that something as routine as going to the bathroom could turn out to be the most terrifying thing one attempts after giving birth? For most of us this can be a very daunting task especially if you’ve just had a vaginal delivery and have had to undergo stitches and perhaps experienced some bruising, you’re probably worried sick that if you push anything else out right now you’ll do some major damage!

To help ‘ease’ the situation be sure to drink lots of fluids and incorporate fiber rich foods into your diet. Which leads up to my next taboo topic…hemorrhoids!

Some women develop hemorrhoids either during their pregnancy or at birth. Hemorrhoids are simply blood vessels that have become swollen; symptoms can range from mild to the more painful. Hemorrhoids typically go away on their own and sometimes with a little help.

the following are a few suggestions:

– Apply an ice pack to the area periodically throughout the day, ice decreases any swelling.
– Warm soaks in the tub can be especially helpful.
– Use your peri bottle to thoroughly clean the area instead of toilet paper.
– ‘Tucks’ pads are another great option and are especially made for hemorrhoids.

Please remember to consult with your healthcare provider when looking for any over the counter hemorrhoid relief products.

To help speed up the healing process avoid becoming constipated, drink plenty of water and have a diet rich in fiber, you should also avoid sitting and standing for prolonged periods of time.

One other thing you can come to expect is postpartum bleeding, known as ‘lochia‘. This is not to be mistaken for your menstrual cycle. The uterus starts the process of involution immediately after birth whereby it shrinks back down to its normal pre-pregnancy size, during this time women experience some bleeding for approximately 4-6 weeks postpartum sometimes accompanied by cramping.  It is not recommended you use tampons at this time because of the risk of infection, instead stick to using sanitary napkins.

It is also not uncommon to experience some discomfort in the perineum after having given birth, the perineum stretches to accommodate the baby’s head during the birth process and may feel sore for a few days postpartum, if you’ve had some repair the healing process could very well take a little longer.

There are a few things you can do to help alleviate some of this discomfort:

– Apply ice packs to help decrease any swelling.
– Use your peri bottle and pat dry instead of wiping with toilet paper when going to the washroom.
– Frequently change your sanitary napkin and
– Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Keep in mind that every woman’s postpartum experience is a different one; for some women the healing process may take a little longer than others.  If you have any questions and/or concerns or something simply just doesn’t ‘feel’ right, it probably isn’t…always consult with your healthcare provider.


About Dale: 

Dale Alleyne-Ho, (Hons.) R.E.C.E, CCBE,  is the lead Author of “The Ultimate Guide to Labour & Birth”

She is also the Owner of ‘The Complete Family’, which offers an innovative range of instructor led online prenatal series that are all readily and easily accessible to families nationwide.

You can find her on facebook and Twitter


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