On 10th May 2018, Cloudnine launched a live Tweetinar on Changes to Prepare For After Childbirth on its Twitter handle @CloudnineCare. It was orchestrated by Dr Harsha V. Reddy, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Cloudnine Hospital, Bellandur, Bangalore. The Tweetinar sought to debunk postpartum myths, address postnatal concerns and highlight healthy lifestyle measures in the wake of childbirth.
Specialist Details: Dr Harsha V. Reddy
Clinical Focus and Expertise:
Pregnancy, pre- and post-delivery care, gynaecological problems, irregular menstrual cycles, normal and C-section delivery, obstetric care, prenatal counselling.
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1.Can you suggest any tips to ease vaginal pain/swelling after childbirth?
In case of vaginal delivery, it is important to have your stitches checked by your doctor. If you suffered from high blood pressure during pregnancy, have your levels monitored by your doctor in the weeks following your delivery.
2.What tips would you recommend to new moms?
A nutritious diet, plenty of water and a good amount of sleep are certainly recommended.
3. How can one prevent or get rid of stretch marks?
Stretch marks can't be prevented. However, moisturising skin regularly will serve to minimise them.
4. In an age where late pregnancy is becoming more common, what measures can be taken to augment fertility?
The fertility profile we are born with can't be changed or improved. However, a healthy BMI, a nutritious diet and abstinence from alcohol and smoking are recommended ways to optimise fertility.
5. How many days after a C-section can one start exercising?
Walking can be begun as soon as your pain has subsided. Thereafter, it is advisable to walk on a daily basis. Heavy physical activity like weightlifting, etc. can be commenced about three months after childbirth.
6. How does one prepare the body for childbirth?
Preparation for pregnancy must be done on both a physical and emotional level. Regular exercise or yoga, a balanced diet, regular tests and scans, and consumption of folic acid for three months leading into conception is essential.
7. Can you share any tips on how one can get back into shape post-pregnancy?
If you've had a normal delivery, you can start walking immediately after giving birth. You can also start light exercises. If you've had a C-section, delay walking until your pain has subsided. Additionally, breastfeeding is a high calorie-burning activity that helps in the postpartum weight loss process. Also, remember to lay off the junk food, eat nutrient-rich meals and drink plenty of water.
8. Can you recommend ways to keep one's energy levels intact while tending to a newborn baby?
It can seem hard but try sticking to a schedule. Eat your meals on time, drink lots of water, get adequate sleep, prioritise your workload and keep stress at bay.
9. Can obesity during pregnancy lead to gestational diabetes?
The chances of gestational diabetes are high if the mother is overweight. With effective treatment measures, the risks associated with the condition can be alleviated.
10. As a new mother, urination is proving to be rather painful. How can the pain be countered?
Increase your water intake and get tested for a urinary infection.
11.How long does bleeding persist after childbirth?
A moderate amount of bleeding may be observed for 7-10 days. Post this period, it may continue on and off for about 2 months. If you experience heavy bleeding, consulting a doctor is recommended.
12. Will my menstrual flow change after giving birth?
Some women may experience lactational amenorrhoea after delivery, which results in missed periods for a few months. Usually, however, the first menstrual cycle after delivery tends to be heavier than otherwise and is nothing to be afraid of.
13. Does a C-section result in less blood flow than a vaginal delivery?
The amount of blood discharge after a C-section delivery varies from person to person.
14. How does one prepare mentally for childbirth?
Attending Lamaze classes during pregnancy, discussing your fears and concerns with your doctor and seeking accurate information about your birth plan will help you prepare well for childbirth.
15. How many days or months does it take for a period to arrive after a C-section?
If the mother is not breastfeeding, it is likely that the menstrual cycle will resume immediately. If the mother is breastfeeding, there is a possibility of lactational amenorrhea, in which case periods may start up to 3, 6 or even 10 months after childbirth.
16. How much time does the body take to recover from childbirth?
With a normal delivery, a new mother can switch to her pre-pregnancy routine almost immediately. That being said, the reserves of iron and other nutrients lost during pregnancy and childbirth take at least 2 years to replenish themselves. In the case of C-section delivery, the scar on the uterus needs at least 1.5 years to heal completely.
17. How does childbirth affect a woman's reproductive organs and landscape?
Hormonal changes during pregnancy seem to have a curative effect on both the uterus and the ovaries. As a result, any symptoms associated with fibroids and endometriosis tend to diminish. Breastfeeding post-childbirth is thought to be therapeutic for the mother's breasts.
18. Do meditation and yoga help in preparing the body for childbirth?
Yoga and meditation can help the body heal after childbirth. They are equally important prior to childbirth too.
19. How long does it take for the belly to settle into its pre-pregnancy shape and form?
It can take up to 1-1.5 years for your belly to settle into its original shape and form. You can begin exercising about 2 to 3 months post-delivery.
20. Can daily massages benefit a newborn or is it simply a needless ritual rooted in tradition?
Massages rendered by the mother can strengthen the mother-child bond. Before adopting any massage routine, however, it is important to consult a doctor.
21. How long should one wait before returning to the gym post a normal delivery?
A wait of at least 6 weeks after childbirth is recommended.
22. How does one deal with the inevitable emotional changes that come along with the physical changes after childbirth?
Communication is key. Talk to your friends and family about your feelings. Become a member of postpartum groups to hear others' experiences. Make sure to get adequate sleep and step outdoors regularly.
23. Despite the elation of having a new baby, anger outbursts seem to be becoming the norm with me. Why is this happening?
Sudden changes in hormone levels in your body are likely the cause of your irritability. Your mood swings could also be due to lack of sleep. Please consult a doctor if your irritability continues to persist.
24. Does one's mental condition affect the milk supply?
Yes, stress can affect the milk supply. You need to feel positive about breastfeeding and have a positive attitude about it. If you are feeling low or stressed out, your milk production may be affected.
25. What is postpartum depression? Does every woman go through it?
While gloom and moodiness are common feelings after childbirth, postpartum depression may manifest as exaggerated sadness or irritability. Postpartum depression typically derails daily life. However, it does not affect all new mothers.
26. How many days does it take to recover from childbirth?
A new mother needs at least 6 weeks to recover after childbirth.
27. Mine was not a planned pregnancy, and so, I did not have folic acid for the three months preceding my pregnancy. What could the possible side effects be?
In India, most women do not consume the recommended folic acid course prior to conception and go on to have uneventful pregnancies. That said, it is important to note that folic acid reduces the incidence of neural tube defects in babies.
28. How important are iron and calcium supplements for postpartum women?
Childbirth eats into the iron reserve of the body. Likewise, breastfeeding draws essential calcium from deep within your bones. This is why it is important to replenish lost iron and calcium through supplements. Consult your doctor within a week of your delivery to seek a supplement course.
29. Whom should one consult for postpartum depression?
If you suspect that you suffer from postpartum depression, reach out to a psychiatrist as soon as possible.
30. I am perpetually exhausted after my delivery. Should I be taking supplements?
Yes, please seek out iron and calcium supplements and keep a check on your haemoglobin and thyroid levels.
31. What foods should I eat after delivery? Is there a specific diet which needs to be followed?
There's nothing better than home-cooked meals after delivery. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water and avoid oily and spicy food.
32. How differently must one prepare for pregnancy at 40, compared to at a younger age?
If you're 40 or over, it is advisable to get a health check done to make sure that you don't have any medical conditions that could hamper conception or pregnancy.
33. How does one address breast sagging caused by breastfeeding?
Learning and practising a proper latching technique with a lactation consultant can help prevent sagging breasts.
34. How can one prevent the hardening of breasts?
Invest in a good nursing bra. Also, if you find your breasts getting heavy after breastfeeding, pump the extra milk and discard it. Hot water fermentation is also suggested in treating breast pain.
35. What solid food should I first introduce to my baby? Also, how do I gauge whether she is ready for solids?
Please speak to your paediatrician to gain a comprehensive understanding of when to start solids.
36. How does one embrace labor pain, both mentally and physically?
For emotional support and strength, Lamaze classes are recommended. For regaining physical strength, keeping oneself physically active is a good way to go.
37. In case of a normal delivery, what exercises or practices would you suggest to tighten up the vagina?
Pelvic floor exercises and Kegel exercises are advisable.
38. Is it normal for the vagina to be dry and result in painful intercourse and daily discomfort after childbirth? Will this feeling subside on its own?
I'd recommend a wait-and-watch approach. The initial act of intercourse after delivery can be dry and painful. The vagina usually moistens over time.
Dr. Harsha V. Reddy
Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist,