The ultimate list of must-haves for all mothers for post-hospital care after birth

Post In: Afterbirth Perineum Care
The ultimate list of must-haves for all mothers for post-hospital care after birth

They say that birth is not just about making babies, but it’s about making mothers, too – and mothers who are cared for best care for their babies. Giving birth is no easy feat, and we know that all mothers, whether they are first-timers or not, will need all the help and support they can get.

Postnatal care for the mother is really essential. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has in fact stressed that  all women and newborns should be given support and careful monitoring up to six weeks after delivery.

What is postpartum care?

The term postpartum itself means “following childbirth”. It is also known as “postnatal”. The postpartum period begins right after the delivery of the baby and ends when the mother’s body has almost returned to its pre-pregnancy state. This can last from six to eight weeks.

What changes in your body should you expect during postpartum?

A mother’s body goes through many changes, physically and emotionally, through the pregnancy and after the birth period. During pregnancy, the female body is subject to many changes, including weight gain, widening hips, increasing breast size, swollen ankles and lower back pain. These are just some of the many changes that a woman goes through during pregnancy. 

After birth, the body changes even more with a mix of physical and emotional changes. 

These are a few examples of changes that a woman’s body goes through after vaginal birth:

Vaginal soreness

Those who’ve had a vaginal delivery will likely have a vaginal tear, which may have naturally occurred, or an incision that the doctor would have made. This wound may hurt, and extensive tears can take longer to heal. To help lessen the pain, it’s advised to sit on a pillow or padded ring, and to use a perineal ice pack and bidet spray to wash yourself. 

Body aches and pains

All the pushing, contractions and contortions of labour will take their toll on the body. As the uterus contracts back to its normal size after the baby comes out, most women will feel abdominal pains and cramps. This discomfort should last just a few days and can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription painkillers. 

Vaginal discharge

After birth, the female body bleeds and expels a discharge known as lochia, which is composed of blood, mucus and uterine tissue. This discharge is quite similar to a woman’s monthly menstruation but it happens on a much larger scale. This is because the uterus expands quite a bit during pregnancy and the uterine lining has thickened to support the placenta. 

The body now sheds this lining after the mother gives birth. Expect the lochia discharge to last much longer than a normal period, about six to eight weeks. 

Swollen feet and extremities 

The female body produces about 50 percent more blood and other bodily fluids than normal during pregnancy. This occurs in order to accommodate the growing baby (or babies) inside the body. This results in swollen ankles, feet and other extremities during pregnancy. After birth, the swelling does not subside instantaneously. It can take weeks for the extra fluids to leave the system. 

In order to speed up the process of the body flushing these fluids away, it helps to take food rich in potassium as they counteract the water-retaining effects of sodium. Many nurses and physicians also suggest drinking lots of water – more than the recommended eight glasses a day – especially if the mother is breastfeeding. 

Enlarged and swollen breasts

A day or two after birth, a mother’s breasts will most likely become engorged with milk, swollen and sore. This will be a normal occurrence while breastfeeding. Even when a mother does not breastfeed, they may experience milk leakage for several weeks. 

Luxury breast gel packs for nursing are suggested for mothers to use during this time to help ease their discomfort.

Back to blog