Post pregnancy complications

Knowing the symptoms of these common postpartum complications may help you to identify them earlier and treat them more effectively.

Most pregnancies these days end in relatively smooth, uncomplicated births.Even if an emergency Cesarean section is necessary, at least the mother already knew that this was a possibility, and the labor and delivery staff are well prepared for the procedure.Once the baby is out, you may think that recovery will be smooth sailing.Usually it is - but not always.Here are a few postpartum complications which, though they are mostly rare, the expectant mother may encounter.

One of the more common post pregnancy complications is postpartum hemorrhaging, an excessive loss of blood after delivery.Postpartum hemorrhaging can be caused by a number of factors, including: a long and difficult labor; lacerations to the uterus; uterine fibroids that make it difficult for the uterus to contract to its original shape; an overly distended uterus due to a large baby or multiple babies; fragments of the placenta that were left inside the uterus; or, rarely, a genetic bleeding disorder that was previously undiagnosed.

If heavy bleeding is due to an overly distended uterus or one that is too relaxed following a lengthy, difficult labor or traumatic delivery, the new mother may be encouraged to try uterine massage.In addition to checking the size and position of the uterus by palpating the mother's abdomen during the mother's recovery period, nurses or doctors may also instruct her to gently massage her uterus several times a day.Also, breastfeeding is very helpful for stimulating uterine contractions, which stop the bleeding and help the uterus return more quickly to its original size.

Endometritis, an infection of the uterine lining, is a relatively common post-pregnancy complication.Endometritis occurs when the uterus becomes vulnerable to infection after the placenta detaches, and is more likely to occur if there is a piece of placenta left inside the uterus after delivery; for this reason, the placenta is always examined carefully after delivery to determine if it is intact (and to prevent postpartum hemorrhaging, as mentioned above).Symptoms of endometritis may include a low-grade fever along with lower abdominal pain and perhaps also a foul-smelling vaginal discharge.Endometritis is usually treated with antibiotics.

One postpartum complication that is relatively easy to avoid is an infection at the site of the perineal tear or episiotomy.Symptoms of such an infection may include pain and tenderness at the site of the laceration, possibly accompanied by abdominal pain, difficulty urinating, a thick discharge, and fever.

Treatment for this type of infection usually involves antibiotics, but it is best to prevent infection in the first place by practicing good perineal care and cleanliness.Ward off an infection by keeping the perineal area very clean and rinsing it with warm water after using the bathroom, as well as changing the maxi pad at least every four hours.And don't use a tampon for postpartum bleeding, as it can introduce more germs into the area.

Also, avoid putting any excessive stress on the area - don't ride a bicycle, for example, without getting the go-ahead from your doctor to do so.Some women find that sitting on an inflatable rubber ring helps, while others find that this increases the pain and pressure on the perineal area.

Recovery from giving birth always takes time and patience as the mother's body heals, so don't rush it.Getting plenty of rest, nutritious food, and adequate fluid intake are important ways to help that healing along.Expect a certain amount of discomfort when sitting or walking, and a bit of cramping as the uterus returns to normal size, but also be aware of what may be abnormal.Report any fever or continued abdominal pain to your doctor so that if there is a problem, it can be diagnosed and treated before it becomes a bigger problem.

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