Having a baby is such a miracle. As mums, we often plan for our pregnancy and delivery but end up having relatively less information on what to expect and how to deal with the changes in our bodies after our babies are born. While every woman’s experience is unique, there are simple solutions that cut across as well as universal warning signs to pay attention to.
Whether you had a vaginal birth or Caesarean section it is expected that you would have some discharge from your vagina for the first six weeks. This discharge called “lochia” is a mix of blood and tissue being shed from a new mother’s womb, cervix and vagina as her reproductive system returns to its pre-pregnancy state. It is at first bright red, then transitions from brown, to yellow before becoming clear.
It’s normal to notice small clumps of blood mixed with it (known as clots). There are, however, a few warning signs that if noticed, show that you need to get back to the hospital as soon as possible:
-Lochia with a foul odour (a sign of an infection)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
-Lochia soaking one or more sanitary pads in 1 hour or less ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
-Observing clots of blood larger than in size than a small egg⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
-Experiencing sudden and continuous heavy bleeding ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
-Feeling dizzy with increased bleeding ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
-Severe tummy pain or cramping ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
-Having a temperature above 38 degrees centigrade ( Please check with your baby’s thermometer to get a reading. Using your palm is not a reliable way to check for fever)⠀⠀⠀
Please take the issue of lochia seriously as excessive bleeding and infection after childbirth are one one of the leading causes of poor health outcomes and death for new mothers in Nigeria
Pain and Soreness
Your body has just been through a lot. If you had a vagina birth, the skin around that area has been stretched to the max and you may have sustained had a tear or had to have a small cut (episiotomy). With a Caesarean section you literally just went through major surgery. It’s therefore normal to feel soreness and pain after childbirth. Your health care provider should give you appropriate pain medication to keep you comfortable. On your own part, there are ways of facilitating this pain relief using water at different temperatures. To be continued…..