shutterstock_375045364We’ve all seen images of new mothers all calm and serene, gently rocking babies to sleep. But those of you who’ve brought new infants home know that life is hardly that picture perfect. Caring for a newborn can be overwhelming, especially after delivery when you are struggling to regain your own health. For a new mother in a nuclear family, this time can be particularly taxing, as you may find yourself at home alone with the baby. Who’s going to tell you whether light bleeding or spotting is normal or how you can get rid of those stretch marks? Most common health problems that women face post pregnancy include: Bleeding: All new mothers bleed, whether they’ve had a natural birth or C-section, as the body needs to expel the uterus lining after birth. Similar to a heavy period, the flow becomes lighter as the uterus heals and returns to its pre-pregnancy size. It takes anywhere from two to six weeks. This phenomenon, known medically as lochia, is normal. However, if the discharge has an unpleasant smell or you come down with fever and/or chills, see a doctor. Swollen breasts: After giving birth, a woman's hormones undergo a major change and the body makes prolactin, the milk-producing hormone. This causes the breasts to grow bigger and more tender than they were during pregnancy. Engorgement is a temporary phase that subsides in two or three days, once a feed cycle is established. However you can ease the pain with hot and cold compresses before and after nursing as well as by nursing frequently or expressing milk. If you experience flu-like symptoms or a fever that climbs to 101 degrees F or higher, you may have a breast infection. In this event, do call a doctor. Hair loss: Many new mothers shed hair, at times in clumps, three to six months after giving birth. Once the body's hormones self-adjust, this stops. However if the hair loss is excessive and accompanied by other symptoms, call a doctor. You could have postpartum thyroiditis. Constipation: Most women are constipated after giving birth. This is due to a variety of reasons from excessive progesterone production and slowing of the digestive tract to pain medications administered during labor. If you are suffering from constipation, eat high-fiber foods, such as wholegrain rice, and drink plenty of fluids. If that doesn't work, try a laxative after consulting with a doctor. Postpartum hemorrhoids are also common. If the pain becomes too much or you experience bleeding, call your doctor. Perinatal mental illnesses: Most of us have heard about postpartum depression in women, which manifests through sleep and appetite problems, anger, sadness, lack of interest in the baby, withdrawal from others, the feeling of being overwhelmed and thoughts of self-harm and escape. But many new mothers suffer from postpartum anxiety, experiencing excessive worries and fears about the baby; postpartum OCD, manifest through obsessions about the newborn, as well as postpartum panic attacks. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for two weeks or more, call your doctor. Know that this is a temporary condition and can be treated with professional help. Stretch marks on the legs, abdomen and hips are another concern, especially for new mothers who have gained a lot of weight during pregnancy. However, these can be surgically removed safely, according to Doctor 24x7’s Dr Biju Singh. (See box below) Women experience a wide range of postpartum problems, some more serious than others. Don’t rely on gharelu nuskhe to treat them. No worry if you can’t leave the house – just download the Doctor 24x7 app and get expert advice in the comfort of your home. The first consult is free—call now!

Best ways to get treat stretch marks

shutterstock_376185385The development of stretch marks during the third trimester of pregnancy is extremely common, with 75-90% of women suffering to some extent (NHS Direct). Stretch marks develop when the skin is stretched greatly over a short period of time, causing depletion of collagen and elastin levels in the skin and resulting in a loss of elasticity. During pregnancy, stretch marks not only develop around the abdominal area as a result of its rapid expansion, but also appear on the thighs, buttocks and upper arms due to natural weight gain in these areas. Many women find that the appearance of stretch marks can be minimized by the use of anti-stretch mark creams and moisturizers. A suitable cream would be one that provides good skin sensation due to its emollient properties, further, with a design that allows the cream to be spread evenly and completely absorbed. Simple moisturizing agents like olive oil or cocoa butter are also options. After delivery stretch marks can be tackled by CO2 lasers preferably within six months of delivery. In this procedure, a laser makes tiny holes in the outer layer of skin, stimulating collagen production in the underlying area that subsequently leads to the rejuvenation of the epidermis (surface skin). With the treatment, stretch marks become lighter and are less visible. However, after all this discussion, probably the best way to prevent stretch marks is by toning one’s body (abdomen) by working out before conceiving. So hit the gym at least three months prior to planning! Dr T Biju Singh , MBBS (JIPMER), DNB (OBST & GYNAE), F.OBGYN (USA) with 22 years of experience International Fellow of The Midwest women’s Specialty Group, P.C, Terre Haute, Indiana , USA. Leading Gynaecologist of Kolkata consulting with a number of top hospitals is a consultant gynaecologist and Doctor 24x7 expert
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