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Is This Normal? Navigating the Postpartum Phase

There are few things as life changing as becoming a parent. For new mothers, pregnancy and childbirth can have a significant impact both physically and emotionally. As a new mother, it is difficult to decipher what is normal and what is concerning in the days and weeks following childbirth. Most mothers do not see their provider for four to six weeks following delivery, so it is important to spot issues early. We will be discussing potential issues that may require medical intervention during the postpartum phase.

What Postpartum Complications Should I Be Aware Of?

One potential complication is excessive bleeding. While it is normal for women to bleed for two to six weeks following deliver, the bleeding should begin to slow down. Excessive bleeding may be caused by a retained placenta, infection or other issues.

A second complication is infection. Women may be at increased risk of infection following birth, including mastitis, urinary, uterine and wound infections. When caught early, these infections can be resolved with antibiotics. If missed, a woman may be at risk of abscesses or sepsis.

A third complication that is seldom discussed is stroke. Women with preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) are at an increased risk of stroke after childbirth. Additionally, women with a history of migraine headaches may be at increased risk of stroke following childbirth.

A fourth complication is pulmonary embolism, which is blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries of the lungs. This is often caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from the legs. Risk factors for postpartum pulmonary embolism include prolonged labor, Cesarean birth, advanced maternal age, hypertension and obesity.

A fifth complication is depression and anxiety. Some studies indicate that about approximately one in seven women develops postpartum depression. It is important to understand the warning signs of this often overlooked condition.

Takeaway Message:

Childbirth is a life changing event that can have significant emotional and physical impacts. It is important for women to be aware of potential risk factors that may occur during the postpartum phase. Women should reach out to their physicians to discuss concerning symptoms following childbirth.

Are you a YouTube fan? Please check out our YouTube Video which discusses issues to watch out for during the postpartum phase!

How was your postpartum experience? What were some things that you wished you knew before childbirth? Please share in the comments below.

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