We speak to an obstetrician-gynaecologist about pain after birth

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How can one ease the pain or discomfort post-delivery?
How can one ease the pain or discomfort post-delivery?

Taking care of yourself after birth is difficult for some moms - especially first-time moms.

After giving birth to a whole human being your body goes through a lot, so it is vital to take care of, and be kind to, yourself during this time.

Doctors tell us that discomfort after birth is normal, because of what your body went through during your baby’s delivery, but when does it become a problem, and how can you make the recovery easier? 

Parent24 talked to Dr Govindasamy, an Obstetrician-gynaecologist based in Port Elizabeth, to take us through some of the recommended ways to deal with this discomfort after birth. 

Discomfort after birth

Dr Govindasamy tells us that new mothers who delivered their babies through the caesarean section, also known as c-section, can anticipate abdominal wound pain and discomfort after the effects of anaesthesia (general or spinal) have worn off.

Similarly, she adds that mothers who have delivered vaginally may experience vaginal tenderness, soreness and irritation. 

In Dr Govindasamy’s experience discomfort in wounds does not present immediately post-delivery, but rather after some time when the pain-relieving effects of the local anaesthetic has worn off.

After delivery, it is normal for new moms to be worried about how their bodies may have changed as a result of their baby’s delivery.

She mentions that during this time some women experience cramping and vaginal bleeding; painful bowel movements or urination; and worry about when to resume sexual intercourse amid fears about the removal of sutures/stitches.

She stresses that vaginal bleeding or discharge may continue from immediately post-delivery up until approximately 14 to 16 days thereafter – this occurs in different stages and is completely normal.  

Having fears as a new mom is very normal, she reassures us, adding that having someone to assure you that all will be well is very important during this time. 

How can one ease the pain or discomfort post-delivery?

Dr Govindasamy tells us that one can ease up this pain through oral analgesics, also known as painkillers. 

For the vaginal (perineal) pain and swelling after a normal vaginal delivery, she tells us that the pain lessens after 7 to 10 days.

There are also topical treatments available to reduce vaginal or perineal pain such as ice packs, she says, and you can do this by wrapping the ice in a cloth or hand towel, and then putting the ice closer to the pain. 

Fortunately, the duration of an individual women’s experience of pain may vary depending on clinical circumstances, says Dr Govindasamy.

However, she warns, increasing intensity of pain should not be ignored and should be brought to the attention of the attending Obstetrician urgently.

Breastfeeding-related pain 

Post-delivery, many mothers are breastfeeding their children.

Dr Govindasamy tells us that during feeding time some mothers struggle with an intense pain as a result of hormones being released to increase the quantity of milk for the baby.

In this case, she recommends that women can use painkillers for relief, hot water bottles or warm showers.

With emphasis, Dr Govindasamy says that education, guidance and appropriate reassurance about vaginal bleeding post-delivery are very important.

Still have questions? Let us know! 

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