Healing Your Body

Although pregnancy is very rewarding, it is a tough time for the mother. Your body is going through many different changes. Dr. Ema Kulwa says, “Everybody needs to be supportive of the mother, especially the father.” Yes, fathers do play a role in the health of the mother. But it’s the mothers who are going to spend the next two months getting back to normal. You will experience “afterpains” (cramps), vaginal discharges, and many other conditions that may cause some discomfort, but definitely aren’t unbearable. Search Phrase: Physical Changes and Healing After Birth

But as your body heals from the delivery of your child, it’s important to focus on you. It’s a time to heal. HealthyWomen.org has a good list of important tips:

» Sleep when Baby sleeps – it might be the only time you get to sleep
» Do your chores with Baby – babies love watching their moms do anything
» Get out of the house every day, if only for a short walk
» Give in to take-out food occasionally – nobody expects you to be Paula Dean
» Forget perfection – the house does not need to be spotless
» Take care of your perineal area – sitz baths are vital
» Eat right – you are what you eat and if you’re breast feeding, so is Baby
» Seek help if you experience – heavy bleeding, breast infections, pelvic pain

The Emotional Rollercoaster

The “baby blues” are real. The miracle of childbirth is a tremendous emotional high. Once it wears off and the lack of sleep sets in, along with plummeting hormone levels, you may very well feel down, or sad. If this condition lasts more than ten days, or becomes intense, you may be developing a condition called Postpartum Depression. Dr. Kulwa says, “It’s important to pay attention to the signs of Postpartum Depression. The condition can affect the mother’s ability to take care of the newborn. The new mom needs to be emotionally healthy so she can connect to her baby and provide the best care for her newborn and any other children in the home.”

It’s important to talk to your doctor and discuss your options. If you’ve been visiting your doctor for all of your prenatal visits, she or he will have a baseline understanding of your personality and will be better able to recognize substantial changes in your emotional well-being.

Signs of Postpartum Depression

» Feeling restless, irritable, or anxious
» Loss of interest or pleasure in life
» Loss of appetite
» Less energy and motivation (not related to sleep)
» Problems falling asleep or waking up too early
» Feeling worthless, hopeless, or guilty
» Feeling like life isn’t worth living
» Showing little interest in the baby
» Unexplained weight loss or gain

Dr. Kulwa says, “Being pregnant can be very stressful for the mother and the family in general. It is possible for any existing mental illness to become exacerbated when the person is pregnant.” And because of the increased level of medical attention during pregnancy, it’s also common for mental health issues to be identified for the first time while pregnant. There are many different treatments for mental health related issues. One of the most effective treatments for depression in general is exercise. And exercise after childbirth can have the added benefit of helping get your body back to where it was before childbirth.

Dr. Ema Kulwa is an OB-GYN at Healthcare for Women located at 159 Executive Drive, Suite E in Danville. You can schedule your appointment by calling 434.791.2629.

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