The wonderful sensation of being a new mum has just begun to sink in, but now your body has to recover fully after the delivery. It is important to know the basics of proper wound care, be it an episiotomy or cesarean section wound.
You should see your obstetrician or return to the hospital as soon as possible if you experience heavy bleeding, worsening of abdominal pain, discharge from the wound, wound swelling or fever.
Care of an episiotomy wound
If you had a natural childbirth, it is possible that your obstetrician may have performed an episiotomy (read the article Pushing and Delivery: Is an Episiotomy Needed?) for you. Some women also tear naturally during delivery. It is important to know how to take care of the wound so that it heals well with the least discomfort. To ease the pain and promote good healing of your episiotomy wound, the following can be applied:
Care of a cesarean section wound
If you have had a cesarean section, you will need to cope with your tummy wound. Each person’s recovery will be different, depending on the medical and obstetrical circumstances and general health of the patient. It is important to remember that it is a major abdominal surgery and you need to take things slowly.
Social and emotional support
Social and emotional support from family members and friends is important. By the end of the sixth week, you should be fully recovered and be able to resume most of your activities. You should ask your obstetrician about beginning an exercise program to regain abdominal muscle tone as well as Kegel exercises for your pelvic floor and when to return for a postnatal check-up.
Frequently asked questions
Q: When will my menstruation return after delivery if I am not breastfeeding?
Most women have their first menstruation by ten weeks if they are not breastfeeding.
Q: When will my menstruation return after delivery if I am breastfeeding?Breastfeeding can delay menstruation for 20 weeks (five months) or more. However, it is not uncommon to find your period returning sooner or much longer than 20 weeks.
Your Postnatal Visit
At the time of a postnatal review, the doctor will ensure the following:
Your doctor will decide on the appropriate follow up visits for you after the initial postnatal review.
Did you know?
It takes up to six weeks for all your pregnancy-related changes in your body to revert back to its pre-pregnancy state.
Water retention (edema): You will experience increased urination (diuresis) immediately after your delivery but it may take up to four to six weeks for the swelling to resolve.
Womb (uterus): Six weeks to return to its pre-pregnancy size and position.
Per vaginal bleeding (lochia): Takes 4-6 weeks to completely stop. During the first week, the bleeding can be quite heavy but will gradually decrease. It usually changes from bright red to pink or brown, and may become yellow before it disappears.
Episiotomy: Takes a week for the pain to diminish and up to two weeks to heal.
Cesarean section wound: Six to eight weeks for the wound to heal.Explore more
By Dr TAN Thiam Chye, Dr TAN Kim Teng, Dr TAN Heng Hao, Dr TEE Chee Seng John,KK Women's and Children's HospitalSources:The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth, World Scientific 2008.