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Postpartum Recovery

Postpartum Recovery

Pregnancy and labor takes its toll on your body, and although you have a new baby to enjoy, postpartum recovery can be difficult and stressful for new moms. Here's how you can make postpartum recovery as painless and simple as possible:

-Do your Kegels. Kegel exercises will strengthen your pelvic floor, and you'll be able to eliminate or reduce urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a very common problem, and occurs because of the added pressure of the baby weight during pregnancy. It can persist after delivery, and happens when you laugh, cry or sneeze. Kegels can also help prevent hemorrhoids, as rectal circulation increases with regular exercises.

-Episiotomy scar care is important. If your perineum tore during labor, your doctor probably performed an episiotomy and you will have several stitches. Similarly, if your baby's delivery required forceps or vacuum suction, you'll find that you are very tender and sore. For relief, take a sit bath where you sit in a plastic tub set over the toilet each day, and use ice packs and over the counter medications. For more severe cases, your doctor might prescribe medication to help you recover.

-Get back into a fitness routine. Exercise will help you feel stronger and have more energy, as well as tone your body. You must take care not to overexert yourself after delivery. Up until about six weeks after delivery, you shouldn't be doing any exercises but your Kegels. After that, however, you should be able to resume a normal fitness routine, unless you had a C-section or other delivery complications. Talk to your doctor before starting any routine. Stomach crunches and other abdominal exercises can help you lose that baby belly and feel great, while cardio and aerobics will get your heart pumping.

-Enjoy your sex life. Some women don't feel attractive or in the mood for quite some time after pregnancy. Your doctor will recommend that you don't have sex for at least six weeks after delivery. When you and your partner do decide to have sex, use lots of lubrication and go slowly. If you don't feel like having intercourse, set aside some cuddling time, or take a shower together to physically re-connect. Remember to communicate with your partner if you're feeling nervous, or don't want to have sex, be honest about it.

-Recognize the signs of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a very common condition that affects many women after delivery. Although baby blues are a milder condition that can affect new moms, PPD is more serious and lasts for longer than two weeks. Women with PPD might experience mood swings, extreme depression, the desire to leave her family, or panic that something terrible is about to happen. In extreme cases, women have harmed or even killed their infants. If you are having symptoms of PPD, talk to your doctor. Treatment is usually very effective and PPD symptoms are eliminated in a few weeks. If you are having any suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming your infant, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.


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