Common postpartum complications and ways to deal with them

Childbirths aren’t as easy as it may sound. While the joy of bringing a child to life is priceless, the several health problems of the mother…sometimes life-threatening, must not be ignored. Postpartum complications can occur within weeks after childbirth or even months afterwards and may not always give warning signs. Call it sheer lack of awareness, the uterine contractions, fatigue and pain that the new mothers go through are often ignored or overlooked as signs of recovery instead of indications of postpartum complications, which thus, can lead to serious health issues. However, with proper guidance and regular check-ups, such complications can be taken care of and ensure a healthy recovery.

Symptoms of Postpartum Complications

For most women, recovery after labor and delivery of the child may be uneventful and normal. But for few others, it is important to keep a check on the following symptoms to reduce the risk factors which may eventually turn harmful for the new mother. It must be noted that most of the complications can be treated successfully if they are diagnosed early.

· Infections in the genital tract and urinary tract

· Heavy vaginal bleeding or formation of blood clots during bleeding

· Swelling or pus formation at the incision site of C-section delivery

· Persistent pain in the vagina

· Flu like symptoms or high fever with rapid heart rate

· Foul smelling vaginal discharge

· Body ache or tenderness and pain in the legs

· Soreness or pain in the breasts

· Problem faced during breastfeeding, clogging of milk ducts

· Pain during urination

· Depressive mood or facing “baby blues” that lasts more than few days

· Digestive issues, constipation

· High blood pressure

· Seizures

· Trouble in breathing or complications due to anesthesia

· Headache with vision changes or problems

· Trouble in falling asleep

· Discomfort during sexual intercourse

· Other pre-existing chronic diseases

When should you seek medical help?

There can be few instances wherein seeking medical help must not be compromised. These are:

· When you suddenly experience heavy blood loss

· When there is persistent and severe headache along with nausea, vomiting or blurred vision

· You find it difficult to take care of the baby

· When you have pain in your upper abdomen or feel tenderness within 48 hours of delivering the baby

· When you hallucinate or panic too often or try to harm yourself

Ways to tackle Postpartum complications

Nothing should be more important than prioritizing your postpartum recovery and health. Postpartum recovery is an ongoing process and must be initiated before childbirth itself. Knowing about the possible risk factors, ways to take care of yourself and the baby, need for any specific care…every step will help in tackling the problems better. Keep a check on the signs and symptoms of any complications in the first three weeks after childbirth and consult your doctor immediately if your health deteriorates. A complete and detailed evaluation of the problems help in determining the treatment process better.

During consultations with your doctor, seek advice on issues like using contraception and time to plan the next baby, factors that can lead to extreme fatigue, right time to start exercising, regularizing sleep pattern, resuming sex life and ways to check abdomen and vagina to check for any uncalled-for symptoms.

BY: Dr. Aparna Patil, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Kinder Women’s Hospital and Fertility Center, Bengaluru

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