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Puerperium: what is it, how long does it last, tips


Having less free time due to having to dedicate it to taking care of the baby, the feeling of not controlling the situation due to wanting to get to everything without help … make postpartum recovery a complicated stage.

Despite its importance in the mutual knowledge and adaptation of the mother to her baby, the puerperium continues to be the great unknown. In order to shed light on the vicissitudes of these weeks, we delve into the physical and emotional casuistry experienced by the mother.

The puerperium, an emotional roller coaster

Recovery after childbirth, known colloquially as quarantine, comprises, on average, the period of 6 weeks following delivery. Its duration will vary depending on each woman and on factors external to her, such as complications in childbirth, family support …

A much shorter period than the 9 months of pregnancy in which the mother’s body and psyche must return to the original situation. The current rhythm of life often prevents the woman from being accompanied while she takes care of her child, and she may feel overwhelmed.

There is scientific evidence that inadequate management of sadness, anxiety, fear or fatigue typical of this phase can interfere with the mother-baby emotional connection and the normal establishment of breastfeeding. It is essential to learn the proper posture to allow the baby to empty the breasts without damaging the nipples and for the mother’s body to produce enough milk, thus preventing engorgement or mastitis .

The implications of an uncontrolled puerperium can affect the child:

  • Delaying speech.
  • With conduct disorders.
  • Apathy or difficulty concentrating.

Postpartum psychic sequelae

The first days as a mother, especially after returning from the hospital and when the couple resume their work obligations, are lived with intensity. The sudden drop in hormones contributes to a certain brain stimulation of the chemical processes involved in depression.

During pregnancy, estrogens and progesterone spike their levels in the mother’s body to drop dramatically 24 hours after delivery. In turn, the decrease in thyroid hormone contributes to mood swings, irritability, weight gain, or difficulty falling asleep.

All these discomforts are not serious or require treatment, since they resolve naturally within a few days. This clinical picture is called Baby blues and it usually manifests between the third and sixth postpartum day.

However, if the symptoms worsens and lasts over time, it could indicate that the mother is experiencing postpartum depression . To the restlessness, irritability or sadness are added the recurrent crying, the feeling of guilt and the feeling of inability to act as a mother.

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This process can occur at any time in the puerperium and persist for more than a year. Going to the specialist will be the most convenient to treat it as soon as possible and normalize the care of the child. Every baby needs its mother, not only to benefit from an optimal diet for its defenses, but to find the comfort and well-being that it demands.

Taking advantage of the baby’s sleep hours to rest, eat in a varied way, hydrate, take time to be with your partner and try to take things calmly are good advice, in order to keep depression at bay.

It is estimated that 1 in 10 mothers suffers from postpartum depression. With a much lower incidence: 1 or 2 cases per 1,000 births, the mother can develop a postpartum psychosis characterized by sudden changes in moods , hallucinations or obsessive ideas about the baby. Having a bipolar disorder or another psychiatric problem increases the chances of suffering from it.

There are certain agents that feed the risk of depression:

  • Family history of mental problems.
  • The non-acceptance of pregnancy.
  • Prematurity or long hospitalization.
  • Being a new mother.
  • Lack of family or social support.
  • The scarcity of economic resources.
  • Drug or medication abuse.

Postpartum physical sequelae

The physical changes caused by childbirth and its discomfort can be easily overcome by extreme intimate hygiene and respecting rest, as far as possible.

To combat lochia (remains of tissue and blood expelled by the uterus) without contracting infections, it is recommended to use cotton compresses, neutral soaps and antiseptic for the points in case of episiotomy.

Faced with the sensation of urinary incontinence , caused by the uterus and epidural recovery process, practicing Kegel contraction-relaxation exercises or going to a physiotherapist specialized in pelvic floor favors the recovery of self-confidence.

Complete the list of discomforts:

  • Hemorrhoids .
  • Constipation .
  • Hair loss.
  • Tiredness, associated with anemia.
  • Sweating, especially if there is lactation.
  • Leg and back pain.

A diet rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as the affection of the family, will be the right medicine to successfully complete the recovery. It is in our hands to facilitate this process for the mother. It will undoubtedly benefit everyone’s health .


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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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