While most of you might have heard about the term postpartum, but do you know the postpartum definition? Postpartum, also known as postnatal, refers to the time phase following the birth of a baby. In this time phase, a new mom’s body goes back to the normal, non-pregnant condition. This mainly refers to the balancing of the hormone levels and normalization of the uterus’s size. Furthermore, the postnatal phase is divided into three main stages i.e. acute, sub-acute, and delayed postpartum. According to WHO, the postnatal phase is one of the most crucial time for both the new mom and newborn.
Postpartum Definition & Everything
The 3 Postpartum Period Stages
Several medical studies have shown that the most number of deaths of newborns and new mothers occur in the postpartum phase. Thus, it is very important for everyone to know the postpartum meaning & critical details of this period. So let’s check out the 3 main stages of the postnatal phase in detail.
The acute phase refers to the first 6-12 hours after the baby is born. As this period is right after childbirth, complications can easily happen to the mother’s health. That’s why the new mom is kept under constant observation of nurses and doctors. Moreover, the mother also experiences a plethora of physical and emotional changes. One of the most common problems experienced by new moms is postpartum bleeding. This happens because of the expanded uterus and thus, uterine massage is given to contract it again.
For this purpose, a nurse keeps a regular check on the bleeding amount & top part of the uterus i.e. the fundus. In the case of episiotomy of the vagina, various medical treatments are given to alleviate the perineal pain.
On the other hand, the newborn is laid on the chest of a new mother within 10 seconds of its 1st breath. This is done because several medical studies have proven this method to be beneficial for both mom and baby. Apparently, it helps in building a better emotional connection between the two, while also helping in breastfeeding. Furthermore, the health condition of the newborn is checked using an APGAR scale.
The second phase of the postpartum period is the sub-acute i.e. 2-6 weeks after the birth of the baby. In this phase, the chances of new moms suffering from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are higher. DVT basically refers to the formation of blood clots in deep veins of legs. The treatments of DVT include anticoagulants and compression techniques. Other possible health problems in this phase include infections, urinary incontinence, lochia, hemorrhoids, and constipation, etc. Various psychological issues like stress and depression are also quite common in the sub-acute phase. Thus, proper treatment of all these health conditions is mandatory to avoid complications and death even.
Then again, this time is also crucial for the health and wellbeing of the newborns. Within the first 3-4 days, breastfeeding becomes possible due to the production of milk. However, there can always be complications in breastfeeding, which are treated by doctors. The newborns need to be fed every 2-3 hours for the whole day. Thus, the sleep of new moms can easily be disturbed. For this reason, medical assistance is highly recommended for both mother and child.
Delayed Postpartum Phase
According to the postpartum definition, this is the final phase of the postnatal period. This phase starts right after the sub-acute phase and lasts for approximately 6 months. In the delayed postpartum phase, the muscles and tissues of the new moms go back to the non-pregnant state. Various health problems like involuntary urination, painful intercourse, POP (Pelvic Organ Prolapse) get better in this phase. Furthermore, the symptoms of PTSD also reduce during the first 6 months of the postnatal period.
During the period between 3-4 months, heavy hair fall can happen to the mother, due to a decrease in the estrogen levels. But don’t worry as the hair will grow back without the need of any special treatments. Postnatal thyroid problems can also arise in the new mothers in the delayed postpartum phase. Also, the newborn’s sleep cycle improves in this phase, which allows the mothers to get good sleep as well.
That’s a wrap!
So this was everything you need to know about postpartum meaning, postpartum definition, and other essential details. The first 6 months after childbirth are very critical for both the mother and newborn. Thus, it is very important for you to take proper precautions, treatments, and care during this period. Seeking help from medical professionals is always highly recommended for new parents.