Physical Changes After Birth
The body's ability to recover after childbirth is remarkable. While some areas will not return to their same original state, wounds do heal and stretched tissue shrinks and becomes tight again.
The Circulatory System
# Pulse: A woman's pulse rate returns to its prepregnancy rate in 1-2 days, and the increased volume of blood returns to normal levels in approximately a week.
# White corpuscles (leukocytes): The number of white blood cells increases during labor and right after delivery, and, consequently, it is sometimes difficult to diagnose inflammations. If there is an inflammation and the white blood cell count is high, attentive care is needed because it may be blood poisoning (septicemia).
# Blood coagulation factor: Fibrinogen is elevated for a week, increasing prothrombin time, which measures the time it takes for blood cells to separate from serum in a narrow tube.
# Lochia is the secretion from the uterus after childbirth.
# The amount of lochia secreted differs from person to person, depending on how much of the decidual membrane is left and the condition of the uterus. However breast-feeding does not affect the length and consistency of lochia. Over time, lochia changes.
Immediate postpartum period
Uterine contractions are strong and there are no complications; some bleeding occurs.
3-4 days after birth
Instead of blood, a reddish discharge from the womb is secreted for about a week.
1-2 weeks after birth
Although not red, a thick mucous-like discharge is secreted. There is a slight odor that usually lasts for 2-3 weeks but can last for 4-5 weeks.
4-6 weeks after birth
For most women, normal dull, yellowish discharge similar to the discharge before pregnancy.
# To prevent infection of the uterus and vagina through childbirth wounds and lacerations, lochia must be disposed of properly. After urination or a bowel movement, wipe from the front, from the urethra toward the anus, with clean paper. Maternity pads should be changed often.