More Postpartum Aches and Pains
6. Your c-section scar itches
If you delivered by cesarean, the good news is that you most likely escaped some of the unpleasant side effects -- like episiotomy stitches and hemorrhoids -- of vaginal delivery. Now the bad: A C-section is major surgery and comes with its own issues. In the days immediately after delivery, fatigue and nausea are common. During your four- to six-week convalescence, expect feelings of numbness, tingling, and itching at the site of your incision. Fever, along with redness and oozing from your scar, can indicate an infection.
7. You're constipated
In the days after delivery, many women have difficulty with bowel movements. Sometimes it's psychological, caused by anxiety over episiotomy stitches. Or it may be that your body is reorganizing itself as your organs settle down. In either case, try to relax. Your stitches will stay put, and things should be back to normal within a week. If you're still uncomfortable, your doctor can recommend a stool softener. Eating plenty of fiber, drinking water, and getting exercise -- even if it's just strolling the hallways of your home -- can also help.
8. Your vagina hurts
Even if you didn't have an episiotomy, giving birth takes a toll down below: Swelling and stinging are a given. However, recovery is fairly rapid. Sutures are gone within ten days, and swelling should subside over the same period. In the meantime, apply an ice pack several times a day. And if you find sitting painful, your breast-feeding pillow makes a great postpartum seat.
9. Your hair falls out
As many as 10 percent of women experience hair loss after pregnancy, the result of a drop in hormone levels. But relax -- you aren't as bald as you feel. In fact, hair often thickens during pregnancy; in the months after giving birth, women are simply shedding that extra hair, explains obstetrician Shari Brasner, M.D. Things should return to normal after three months or so, but if your brush continues to resemble a small furry animal, consult your doctor. She may want to give you a thyroid test.
Copyright © 2002 Jennifer Cody Epstein. Reprinted with permission from the April 2002 issue of Parents magazine.
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