How Do I Care For My Wound?
The average recovery period from swelling, soreness, and stitches is around 6 weeks for a vaginal delivery. A C-section requires up to 12 weeks for complete healing.
Stitches from getting an episiotomy may take 7-14 days to heal. Clean the wound and stitches thoroughly with warm water or antiseptics after using the toilet. Refrain from wiping with dry toilet paper as this could irritate the area. Contact your doctor if the pain worsens as this could be a sign of infection.
Recovering from stitches gained through C-section may take longer. Though surface stitches will heal within 1 week, the stitches in your muscle layer will not completely heal until around 3 months. Contact your doctor if you notice any signs of infection (redness, swelling or pus, or if you develop a fever).
Other Changes Post Delivery
Though most of your time will be focused on tending to your newborn’s needs, it is still important to get sufficient rest and nutrition as your body recovers from the childbirth process. During this period, you may notice the following changes in your body:
• Postpartum Bleeding (Lochia)
Vaginal bleeding that seems to be heavier than a typical period (lochia) will gradually become lighter and intermittent. It will fully stop after about 4 to 6 weeks post-delivery. It is advised to use maxi pads rather than tampons, and change your pads regularly to prevent any infection for postpartum bleeding. Call your obstetrician if you’re bleeding heavily.
• Hormonal Changes
You also experience symptoms such as hair loss, acne, night sweats and mood swings due to changes in your progesterone levels and estrogen levels.
Abdominal cramping is expected as your uterus contracts to its pre-pregnancy size. Applying heat using a heating pad or hot water bottle to the area can help ease the pain.
• Weakened Bladder Muscles
You may feel the urge to urinate often as the stress of a vaginal delivery may temporarily weaken the bladder. Some women may experience temporary incontinence as a side effect.
• Constipation and Haemorrhoids
Constipation is commonly experienced postpartum, and some women may have haemorrhoids which causes pain and bleeding after bowel movement. Drink plenty of water and consume fruits to ease constipation naturally.
• Emotional Changes
Some new mothers may struggle with the ‘baby blues’ or feelings of being overwhelmed dealing with a baby. However, if these emotions are causing an inability to function and you suspect you may have postpartum depression, call your doctor and seek advice.