Along with the excitement of bringing a new life into the world comes a lot of questions and concerns. At The Woman’s Health Pavilion, our outstanding obstetric care continues beyond delivery. Below, we’ve answered some questions often asked by moms during the first month after delivery.
If you have additional questions, we encourage you to meet with one of our experienced practitioners in our Queens and Long Island offices. Simply request an appointment using our online form. We see patients 7 days a week and offer same-day appointments for urgent conditions.
Do I need to come in for a postpartum checkup if everything is fine?
Yes! This is an important time for us to make sure your recovery after delivery is going well. If you had a vaginal delivery, you will typically be seen after 4 to 6 weeks. After a C-section, we typically see new mothers sooner to check their incision.
At your postpartum visit, we will evaluate your healing and determine whether you are ready for physical activity, sexual activity, and return to work. We will discuss breastfeeding and other aspects of infant care. The postpartum visit is also an ideal time to discuss birth control options.
We look forward to caring for your health and supporting you as you care for your growing family. Remember, we are here to help!
What are signs of postpartum depression?
Childbirth is supposed to be a happy experience, but many women find that the first few weeks are less joyful than they expected. Women often feel weepy, anxious, frustrated, and even angry. Sometimes, women are frightened by feelings of indifference towards their new babies. These emotions are so common after delivery that they’ve come to be known as “the baby blues.”
A variety of factors contribute to the baby blues. First, most women are physically and emotionally exhausted after delivery. They’re sleep-deprived because of the demands of caring for a newborn infant. New moms and dads have to quickly adjust to new roles, schedules, and responsibilities in the household. Hormones are raging. It’s no wonder that the first week or two after delivery is a scuh a vulnerable time for new moms. Feeling blue is completely normal.
The baby blues are common, but typically resolve within a couple of weeks after delivery. If feelings of depression, isolation, anxiety, or anger persist or worsen, these may be signs of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is more serious than the baby blues. Women with postpartum depression may have overwhelming anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, or even thoughts of suicide.
Postpartum depression is serious, but can be effectively treated. If you suspect that you may be suffering from postpartum depression, call our office right away for evaluation.
What can I do about constipation?
It’s very common to be constipated after delivery for a variety of reasons including pain medication, damage to pelvic floor muscles, iron supplements, and fears about pain or tearing episiotomy stitches. This too will pass. Helpful tips include:
- Move it: You might not be ready for a full workout, but gentle walking can work wonders when you’re feeling bound up.
- Eat right: Fiber in the form of whole grains, prunes, psyllium husk, or fiber supplements helps your insides move things along smoothly.
- Hydrate: Water is an ideal source of hydration. It is calorie-free and naturally softens stools.
- Try a gentle laxative (like MiraLAX®) or a stool softener (like Colace®)
I’m having trouble breastfeeding. Is it really that important?
For your newborn baby, breast milk is a complete source of nutrition. It assists in the development of the baby’s brain and vision, and reduces the incidence of allergies, childhood obesity, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding benefits moms as well: It’s free, it promotes weight loss, and it’s readily available on-demand. If you need breastfeeding help and support, contact our office for resources.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, and supports continued breastfeeding with introduction of other foods thereafter. At The Woman’s Health Pavilion, we encourage breastfeeding for most new moms.
When can I start exercising again?
The answer to this question depends in part on whether you had a vaginal delivery or a C-section. After a vaginal delivery with no complications, most women can begin light exercise within a few days. After a C-section, strenuous workouts should wait for 4 to 8 weeks, but light walking is recommended even in the first week.
It is important to follow your doctor’s directions and listen to your body. Start exercising slowly, and gradually increase the intensity as long as you are comfortable. Remember to stay well-hydrated, and don’t overexert yourself.
How long will it take to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight?
Most women will lose 10-15 pounds immediately after birth, but losing the rest of your “baby weight” can take months. Sound nutrition and exercise are key. Severe caloric restriction is not recommended, especially if breastfeeding: Stick to health diet that includes lean protein, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and calcium, and drink plenty of water.
When will my pregnancy belly pooch go away?
The uterus generally contracts down to its original size within about 4 weeks, flattening the belly. During pregnancy, the vertically-oriented abdominal muscles can stretch to the point where they separate in the midline. For some women, the abdominal muscles remain permanently separated in the midline despite exercise. This condition, called diastasis recti, causes a midline bulge to appear in the abdomen, and may occasionally require surgical repair. Diastasis recti is more common in women over age 35, and in women who have carried large babies or twins.
When is it safe to have sex after delivery?
It’s important to wait at least 6 weeks to resume sexual intercourse after childbirth. You will discuss this with your practitioner at your postpartum checkup. Women should treat sexual activity after delivery just like exercise: Start slowly, and listen to what your body tells you. When you resume sexual relations, you should use birth control to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, even if you haven’t yet seen your period.