Women Should Watch Out For These Problems After Pregnancy

Stomach Pain and Fever Are Signs of a Uterus Infection Some bacteria live in the lining of the uterus. These bacteria are usually harmless but can… Aisha Abdullah - January 28, 2023
Source: Vecteezy

Stomach Pain and Fever Are Signs of a Uterus Infection

Some bacteria live in the lining of the uterus. These bacteria are usually harmless but can cause infections if the uterus is injured during childbirth. The most common sign of these infections, called endometritis, is stomach pain, tenderness, or swelling, and abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge. Women with endometritis may also have a fever, body aches, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, women may experience severe abdominal or pelvic pain and a fast heartbeat. Like most bacterial infections, endometritis can be treated with antibiotics. However, if the condition is left untreated, it can cause serious complications, including sepsis. Doctors advise women to watch for early signs of infections in the days and weeks after giving birth. Women who have a C-section or a long birth are at higher risk.

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Difficult or Painful Peeing Usually Means You Have a UTI

Most women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) at least once in their life. UTIs are especially common after pregnancy because the muscles that move urine through and out of the body can be overworked or damaged during childbirth, putting them at risk of a bacterial infection. The urethra is part of the urinary tract that releases urine from the body and is the most prone to bacterial infection. UTI symptoms include pelvic and lower abdominal pain, difficulty or pain while peeing, an urgent need to pee, and abnormal urine color or odor. You can prevent UTIs by keeping the genitals clean, dry, and free of perfumes, staying hydrated, and wearing breathable underwear. Drinking cranberry juice has also been shown to stop UTI-causing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract lining.

Source: Vecteezy

C-section Puts You at Risk of a Surgical Site Infection

You may be at higher risk for infection if you have a C-section. Incision, or surgery site, infections occur in around 15 percent of women who have C-sections. Most develop within a week of the procedure. Signs of an incision infection include redness, pain, or green or yellowish discharge from the surgery scar and a high fever. Women who have diabetes and those who have other infections during delivery are more likely to develop incision site infections. Keeping the surgery site and surrounding area clean and dry is the best way to prevent these infections. You should contact your doctor immediately if you think the surgical site might be infected. Incision infections can be treated relatively easily with antibiotics. Without treatment, the wound will not heal properly, and you may be at risk of a more severe infection or sepsis.

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Peeing Yourself After Childbirth Is Normal—But Not Indefinitely

Accidentally peeing yourself is something many expecting and new moms have experienced. That’s because, as the uterus expands during pregnancy, it pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor muscles that control when urine is released. That pressure can cause the muscles to weaken and eventually lead to incontinence, a condition causing the accidental release of urine out of the bladder. This leaking may happen for no apparent reason or after you sneeze, cough, laugh, or do a physically demanding activity. Incontinence is common and usually a normal part of pregnancy and early postpartum. Around a third of new mothers experience the condition. However, if incontinence persists for more than six weeks after delivery, it may be a sign of another health issue. Getting help from a doctor at the first sign of a problem can prevent long-term incontinence.

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You Might Have To Retrain Your Body To Poop Normally

Although less common than urinary incontinence, some women also experience a loss of pelvic and bowel muscle control after childbirth. This can lead to fecal or bowel incontinence or involuntary bowel movements. This condition may be caused by damage to the muscles that control when poop is released. The damage may occur during pregnancy or delivery, or both. Bowel incontinence can also result from chronic constipation or hemorrhoids, which are common illnesses immediately after giving birth. Fortunately, this type of incontinence can be treated by “retraining” the body to have regular bowel movements with diet changes, kegel exercises, and medications. Maintaining regular bowel movements and not ignoring the urge to go to the bathroom reduces the risk of bowel incontinence, as does avoiding constipation with a high-fiber diet.

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Call a Doctor If You See Blood or Mucus in Your Poop

Like incontinence, constipation (infrequent bowel movements) is an expected side effect of pregnancy and childbirth. Many women experience difficulty going to the bathroom immediately after giving birth. This may be due to muscle damage during delivery, sudden hormonal changes that affect bowel movements, or post-childbirth pain that makes going to the bathroom uncomfortable. Some pain medications and C-sections can cause constipation, as can iron supplements that treat pregnancy anemia. Staying hydrated, eating a high-fiber diet, and staying as active as possible can help prevent and relieve constipation symptoms. Constipation typically resolves after a few days. Stool softeners or a mild laxative can treat symptoms if other methods don’t work. You should seek immediate medical attention if you have blood or mucus in your poop, if you experience severe abdominal or anal pain, or if you are unable to poop for three days.

Source: Dissolve

Post-Pregnancy Constipation Can Give Your Hemorrhoids

Constipation after childbirth can cause more than just discomfort; it can also lead to hemorrhoids, or swollen veins in the anus and rectum (the lower part of the intestines). Hemorrhoids are usually related to constipation and straining to go to the bathroom. However, they can also result from pressure from an expanding uterus causing veins in your legs and rectum to swell. Hemorrhoids usually appear as small lumps inside or around the rectum. The best way to avoid hemorrhoids after childbirth is to avoid constipation by drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy, fiber-rich diet, and exercising regularly. If you become constipated, get treatment early to prevent hemorrhoids. Contact your doctor if you have severe pain, bleeding, or hemorrhoids that becomes hard.

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Don’t Ignore Swollen Hands and Feet—Your Heart Will Thank You

The body goes through tremendous stress during pregnancy and childbirth that can affect all organs. Strain on the heart can cause an extremely rare kind of heart failure called postpartum cardiomyopathy. The condition occurs when muscles in the heart are weakened, and the heart’s chambers are enlarged in the weeks and months following childbirth. This makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood and deliver oxygen to the body’s organs. The cause of postpartum cardiomyopathy is more common in new mothers who are over age 30, have a history of heart issues or high blood pressure, are of African descent, or have multiples. Symptoms are similar to other types of heart failure and include shortness of breath when resting, swollen limbs, elevated heartbeat, fatigue, and swollen veins on the neck. Good nutrition during and after pregnancy, regular exercise, and avoiding alcoholic drinks and smoking may help reduce the risk of postpartum cardiomyopathy.

Source: Freepik

Sudden Weight Changes Could Be a Sign of Thyroid Problems

If you notice a sudden, unexplained change in your weight after pregnancy, postpartum thyroiditis, or swelling of the thyroid gland. The first phase of this condition, hyperthyroidism, usually occurs within one to six months of delivery. Hyperthyroidism is the production of too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms are often not noticeable but may include unexplained weight loss, increased heart rate, hair loss, and anxiety. The second, more severe phase is hypothyroidism, which usually occurs four to eight months after delivery. Hypothyroidism means the thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone. Signs of this phase are unexplained weight gain, fatigue, body aches, constipation, and depression. Hypothyroidism can usually be treated successfully with hormone replacement therapy.

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You May Struggle To Regain Your Sex Drive After Delivery

After childbirth, many women feel far too exhausted and overwhelmed to even think about sex—for good reason. Most doctors recommend avoiding sex for four to eight weeks after giving birth while their bodies are still recovering. There is no concrete timeline for when your libido will return after delivery. Hormonal changes, fatigue, and sleep deprivation can dampen your desire for sex. That’s very normal, and some new moms may not recover their sex drive for many months or even longer if breastfeeding. However, your sex drive should return eventually. If you are concerned about a lack of sex drive or low libido combined with depression or pain during sex, consider speaking to your doctor. These could be symptoms of other health issues that need to be treated.

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Epidurals Are Great for Pain but Can Cause Debilitating Headaches

An epidural is an injection in the space around the spinal cord that prevents you from feeling pain below your waist. The procedure is a common, effective way to handle pain during childbirth. But, like all medical procedures, it is not without risks. One side effect of epidurals is a severe headache lasting up to a week. These epidural headaches occur when the epidural needle is injected too far, causing leakage of spinal fluid. Epidural headaches, also called post-dural-puncture headaches, are usually treated with over-the-counter pain medicine and rest. Symptoms usually resolve within a week or two. Talk to a doctor if the headache persists beyond that point or worsens.

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Retained Placenta Can Cause Bleeding, Cramps, and Fever

After a baby is delivered, the placenta is expelled from the body, usually within minutes of birth. Sometimes, part of the placenta remains behind, putting the new mother at risk for postpartum hemorrhage (heavy bleeding after childbirth). A retained placenta is usually spotted by the doctor delivering the baby. Still, it can be missed, especially if the placenta is not delivered intact. Signs of a retained placenta appear within one to ten days after birth. They include fever, heavy vaginal bleeding, clots in the blood, and stomach cramps. If the retained placenta is discovered after delivery, it will need to be removed surgically.

Source: CDC

The Bacteria That Causes Strep Can Make You Sick After Childbirth

Group A streptococcus, or strep A, is a common bacteria that causes a host of infections, including strep throat. These bacteria live in the throat, nose, and skin and spread easily. Common procedures during pregnancy and delivery can make you vulnerable to a strep A infection, including vaginal exams with forceps, catheter insertion, and stitches to repair tears. In addition, Strep A can be spread from mother to baby, making it especially important to prevent the infections from happening in the first place and treat those that do arise early. Signs of a strep A infection include fever, chills, pain, fatigue, and feeling dehydrated. Strep A infection can develop into a more serious infection or sepsis if left untreated. Thoroughly and regularly washing hands with soap and water can reduce the spread of Strep A bacteria.

Source: Vecteezy

Vaginal Odor and Discharge Could Be Bacterial Vaginosis

A host of bacteria live in and around the vagina. If something happens to disrupt this bacterial population, it can lead to bacterial vaginosis, which is the overgrowth of certain “bad” bacteria in the vagina. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and after delivery can increase the risk of developing bacterial vaginosis. Symptoms of the condition include abnormally colored and foul-smelling vaginal discharge, vaginal soreness or itching, and a burning sensation when peeing. Untreated bacterial vaginosis can cause uterine or bladder infections if the bacteria in the vagina travel to the uterus or urinary tract. Talk to your doctor right away if you think you might have bacterial vaginosis. The condition can be treated with a course of antibiotics.


Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

Fever and Other Postpartum Warning Signs

3 Conditions to Watch for After childbirth

Common Postpartum Complications, Plus When to See a Doctor

Postpartum complications: What you need to know

Warning signs of health problems after birth