Injury to a mother during labor or delivery is much more common than most people think. You can heal faster and avoid complications if you know how to take care of yourself.
Having a baby is exciting! A new little person is coming into your family and your life is going to change forever. But pregnancy is really hard on your body, and so is labor and delivery. In fact, many people don’t know just how hard it is.
Injury to a mother during labor or delivery is much more common than most people think.
Such injuries to the mother can produce complications that, if left undiagnosed or untreated, can have long-term effects on her. Birth injuries to mothers can be absolutely devastating. They can affect personal relationships, careers and mental health.
Everyone who delivers vaginally (and sometimes those who have a long labor before delivering via C-section) can expect some perineal postpartum pain. And it’s common, given the pressure from your baby’s head pushing through, to experience tears and lacerations in your perineum (the area between your vagina and your anus) and sometimes your cervix as well.
As many as half of all women will have at least a small tear after childbirth. Let us have a closer look at these cases and some possible solutions for your postpartum vaginal care.
When it tears down there
There are a lot of birth injuries that can affect the mother: perineal tears, damage to the pelvic floor muscles, damage to nearby organs, pelvic fractures, and more.
Perineal tearing, for example, is one of the most common injuries and it affects way more women than you’d think — 35% to 40 %!
Though the vagina is stretchy and is designed for accommodating the birth of a child, it is not uncommon for the perineum to stretch so far that it causes tearing, requiring the need for stitches.
There are a number of problems specific to the pelvic floor muscles which can occur as a result of birth trauma.
Some of the most common are the following:
- Distortion of the vagina or perineum (the area between the vagina and anus)
- Heaviness or dragging sensation in the vagina
- Pain in the vagina or perineum that can also be associated with sexual intercourse
- Changes in the appearance of the one or both of the labia (lips around the vagina)
Vaginal tears are a normal complication of childbirth for many women. While some will need to be treated by a healthcare provider and may require stitches, plenty of women can treat their vaginal tears with home remedies like those listed above.
You can also lessen the likelihood of experiencing a tear by taking additional precautions.
- Women at a higher risk of vaginal tears include:
- first-time mothers
- mothers whose babies have a high birth weight
- mothers who had a long delivery
- mothers who had assisted birth, such as with forceps or vacuum
Vaginal tears can be painful and unpleasant but most will heal with rest and a combination of home remedies or treatment by a healthcare provider. Infections are possible but unlikely with proper treatment. Signs of infection from vaginal tears include fever or stitches that smell or become painful.
The risks of postpartum bleeding
Bleeding and infections are some of the consequences of a surgical birth. Scar tissue, also known as surgical adhesions, can build up following a C-section and can complicate future pregnancies and deliveries.
An incision to enlarge the vaginal opening to facilitate delivery can cause excessive bleeding if sutured improperly and can lead to significant infection or even nerve injury.
For the first six weeks or so after the birth, your uterus sloughs its lining, causing a vaginal discharge called lochia. At first, it is like a heavy period, gradually decreasing to a light discharge.
Also called lochia, postpartum vaginal bleeding is the heavy flow of blood and mucus that starts after delivery and continues for up to 10 days. Light bleeding and spotting after pregnancy can continue for up to four to six weeks after delivery (though it varies from person to person and pregnancy to pregnancy).
Infections that develop after delivery of a baby (postpartum infections) usually begin in the uterus. Bacteria can infect the uterus and surrounding areas soon after delivery. Such infections commonly cause pain in the lower abdomen, fever, and a foul-smelling discharge. Antibiotics usually cure the infection.
Do not use tampons
Though you typically can't avoid bleeding after childbirth entirely, there are some things you can do to minimize the embarrassment and discomfort it might cause.
For the first six weeks, use only pads, even if you need pads as thick as your baby's diapers. Don't use tampons, which can introduce bacteria into your still-recovering uterus and genital tract.
According to U.K.'s National Health Service, you can't use tampons immediately after childbirth and should wait until your health care provider gives you the OK to do so.
You will still have a wound where the placenta joined with your uterine wall and inserting a tampon (or anything else in your vagina, including sex) can increase the risk of this wound developing an infection. Use sanitary pads during this time to give your body enough time to heal.
Have an ample supply of maxi pads at the ready. Maxi pads is a must on your postpartum recovery checklist. You’ll probably need these for at least a couple of weeks, until postpartum bleeding lets up.
Genial Day got your back
Genial Day has recently introduced ECO-certified extra heavy overnight/postpartum pads have an anion strip are designed particularly for women with extra heavy flow as well as after giving birth. They provide the best hygiene for postpartum periods since the pads are completely sealed and packed in a resealable food-grade packaging.
Our carefully crafted packaging prevents the pad from bacterial contamination.
In addition, Genial Day one-of-a-kind natural Anion strip with tourmaline and silver prevents bacterial growth and protects the reproductive system from infections.
This is very important during the postpartum period since the reproductive organs are still healing after the vaginal birth.
The new anion strip technology with silver and tourmaline allows for fragrance-free odor control which also eliminates toxic chemicals. Genial Day eco-certified pads are also clinically tested for bio-compatibility, so they won't cause irritation.
They have air-laid cotton layer and nontoxic, biodegradable, super-absorbent material made in Japan for superior absorbency, pH friendly to skin, are toxin-free, fragrance-free, non-chlorine bleached.
The “stay dry” cover sheet is there, too, so that you won’t feel wet. There is also a breathable back layer to eliminate heat and humidity, and leakage control channels, wider back and 3D side walls to prevent unpleasant accidents.
Let’s face it — labor and delivery are going to hurt. And you may have bleeding and leaking and pain for a little while. But if your symptoms last, go see your doctor. Insist on a full examination and don’t take no for an answer.