Pregnancy is commonly deemed to be the most precious experience in a woman’s life. Putting aside the sentimentality of the process, one must realize that pregnancy takes a huge toll on the basic bodily functioning of a woman due to the physiological changes she goes through. Total emphasis on health and hygiene at this point of time is necessary to tackle any occurrence of postpartum stress. Urinary incontinence, infections, vaginal soreness and tender breasts are some very common issues that women who have had a normal or a C-section delivery have to deal with.
This basic guideline will help you take care of your intimate areas so you can feel clean and fresh all day.
If you have had a normal delivery with an episiotomy (a surgical incision that enlarges the vaginal opening):
1. The most important safety guide is to wash your hands after all your activities with your baby to maintain an infection-free environment.
2. Ensure that your perineum is kept squeaky clean. The perineum (anal opening) will be sore and delicate after childbirth, so it is important to tend to it with warm water and ointment.
3. Pads and press pads can be used to absorb the blood flow that you will experience for a few weeks after the pregnancy. Be prompt with changing your pads on time, as over-used pads are a breeding ground for bacteria.
4. A safe and approved practice of washing up the perineum is by using a squirt bottle filled with warm water. The water should not be too hot, as it may dissolve the stitches quicker than necessary. After usage, you can pat yourself dry with a soft towel and wear clean cotton underwear to keep you fresh and clean.
5. Urinary incontinence can be easily tackled by just drinking lots of water. Keep yourself hydrated at all times to avoid the risk of a urinary infection.
6. Opt for fragrance-free vaginal washes if you are looking for a clean-up.
7. A sitz bath is a basin on which you can seat yourself and soak your private areas in warm water to reduce the soreness. It is generally more convenient than soaking in the tub 5 times a day.
If you have had a C-section
1. The guidelines for a woman who has had a normal delivery, as provided above, would apply to you too.
2. The navel area must be given care and attention. It must be washed with soap and warm water. Sponge baths are recommended.
3. The staples are taken off within 6 days and the wounds are soothed using tiny paper stripes called Peri strips, which are peeled off after 15 days.
1. It is important to wash away saliva from the breast after feeding to avoid the risk of infection.
2. Ensure that you use breast pads to avoid leakage, as it can get uncomfortable.
3. Lanolin cream is a good quick-fix for sore nipples.
A common understanding of your body and the process of pregnancy is essential for a comfortable postnatal experience. Taking care of yourself is necessary, so that you are well equipped to take care of your baby. Start taking control of your personal hygiene and you can breeze through the recovery process, making you a better parent and a happier person.