5 Common Post-Baby Health Issues

Oct 01, 2022
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There’s a lot to take in when you’re transitioning from pregnancy to postpartum, but one of the best things you can do is prioritize your physical and mental health. Here are five common post-baby health issues and how to spot their signs.

During pregnancy, it’s easy to focus on all pregnancy-related symptoms you may encounter, but taking care of your body (and mind) doesn’t end once your baby is born. Board-certified OB/GYN Karen Allsup, FACOG, MD, and our Aurora OB/GYN team continue to care for you and support your health needs through the postpartum period and beyond.

That’s why we want to shed light on the five most common post-baby health issues — and how we can help you manage them!

1. Perineum pain and hemorrhoids

After childbirth, your perineum — the area between your vagina and rectum — can become swollen and tender. This is especially true if you’ve had stitches from a tear or episiotomy. 

It can take a few weeks for this area to heal. You can reduce pain and the risk of infection by keeping the site clean. Topical analgesic sprays can help with pain, itching, and burning as you heal.

Hemorrhoids are another common issue for postpartum mothers. The effects of pain medication plus perineum pain can contribute to constipation and hemorrhoids. 

You can find relief with:

  • Topical hemorrhoid cream
  • Witch hazel pads
  • Sitz baths, or soaking in Epsom salt baths
  • Sitting on a donut pillow (helps with both hemorrhoid and perineum pain)

Constipation can worsen hemorrhoids, so focus on eating plenty of fiber and staying hydrated to make bowel movements easier.

2. Breast pain

A few days after your baby is born, your breasts will shift from producing colostrum to producing milk. You may feel engorged as your body learns how much milk to make for your baby. In addition to engorgement, you may also develop chapped nipples or blood blisters as you learn to nurse your baby.

Because engorgement can increase your risk of developing mastitis, stay consistent with your nursing schedule. You can find relief with nipple creams (for chapped skin) and warm compresses (to help your milk flow). 

A lactation consultant can help you through this process and provide additional guidance on learning to breastfeed successfully.

3. Infections

Infections can be a common post-baby health issue. The most common type of infection is along the incision site of a C-section. You can reduce your risk of infection by keeping the surgical site clean and dry and following all post-operative instructions.

Other potential infections include:

Don’t hesitate to let us know if you develop a fever or increased pain (in your breasts, abdomen, or surgical site). Bacterial infections won’t resolve independently, but they can be treated with antibiotics. 

4. Urinary incontinence

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), about 25% of new mothers report urinary incontinence postpartum. You’re more likely to struggle with incontinence if:

Urinary incontinence can be embarrassing and frustrating, but remember, it’s common. Dr. Allsup can recommend strategies, including pelvic floor exercises, that you can implement to help combat incontinence. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you’re among the many women struggling with this post-baby issue.

5. Baby blues

Not all post-baby issues relate to your physical health. One of the most severe post-baby issues affects your mental wellness. Baby blues are common and last from a few days to two weeks. As your hormones start to regulate, feeling stressed, anxious, and a little blue is normal. The lack of sleep, healing from childbirth, and a disruption to your schedule all contribute to baby blues.

In some cases, though, the baby blues don’t resolve. If your symptoms last longer than two weeks, you may be dealing with postpartum depression or anxiety. About 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression. 

Postpartum depression and anxiety can contribute to mood swings, lack of excitement in your new baby, changes to your appetite and sleeping routines, anger, intense sadness, and intense worry. Although it can be overwhelming to feel this way, know that both postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety are both treatable. 

Caring for you … at all stages of life

Whether you’ve just had a baby a few days ago or you’re approaching your sixth postpartum week, Dr. Allsup puts your health first … no matter what stage of life you’re in. If you notice any of these post-baby health issues, don’t hesitate to give us a call. All of these issues from hemorrhoids to postpartum depression can be treated here in our San Antonio, Texas, location.

To call us regarding a post-baby health concern, you can reach our team at 210-547-4700. For less urgent matters, use our online form to request an appointment.