Post-Partum

This is an indefinite period of time following childbirth.

It is associated with severe physical, sociological and mental changes.

Tissues of the body that were altered by the pregnancy will return towards the pre-pregnancy status but may not meet them. The uterus will involute, tears of the vagina may heal, overstretching of the muscles of the pelvic diaphragm may not return to normal, leaving a degree of stress incontinence.

The breasts will have swollen during pregnancy, and will remain swollen if she feeds her baby(ies!). Stretch marks on breasts and abdomen may have formed.

Posture is altered by the weight of the pregnant uterus, back pain may have been initiated. Sacroiliac and pubic symphysis joints need to become firm again. The addition of a child to the family poses financial and other problems, all the more so when there is not the traditional family, too common these days in North America.

Birth of a child is very commonly associated with a degree of post-partum depression, “the blues,” which may be so severe it needs treatment; for all mothers the care giver should be aware of its probability which the mother may not assess correctly herself.

At some time after the surgery, when mental and physical states are quiescent, the new mother may find she wishes to seek treatment for unresolved physical aspects of her pregnancy, such as the striae gravidarum or excess abdominal skin.