Adjusting to a new routine after the birth of a baby is difficult, especially if you are a new mother.
While it is crucial that you look after your newborn, remember that your own needs must also be met.
Typically, new mothers take between six to eight weeks off from work following childbirth, to adjust to the changes in their bodies and minds throughout the postpartum period.
Learning to care for a newborn as a new mother and as a couple is a major task shared by new parents during the postpartum period.
Some new mothers may find themselves unable to get any shut-eye for weeks or months.
It is also normal for mothers to lose bladder control and to face some difficulty in accepting their new bodies.
While everybody is different and the time it takes your body to readjust may vary, there are a few common postpartum problems that many mothers notice.
Common postpartum problems
Women come in many shapes and sizes, and whether pregnant or not, they have a plethora of expectations and preconceived notions about their bodies.
However, every pregnancy is different.
Some women may experience nausea and excessive vomiting, which may be severe to the point that it requires hospitalisation; acne flare-ups; sensitive skin; pigmentation; and fatigue – all of which can have an impact on one’s self-confidence and body image.
And no one can prepare a woman for her postpartum appearance.
This is due to the fact that after giving birth, a woman’s focus quickly shifts from herself to her beloved new baby, and the resulting physical changes, together with the accompanying anxiety, depression and sheer weariness, are almost too overwhelming at times.
Losing bladder control after childbirth is probably one of the unexpected, albeit common, experiences during this time.
In fact, many pregnant women have some level of involuntary urine leakage, known as urinary incontinence, throughout their third trimester.
Although rarely discussed, this is a very prevalent problem.
There is also extremely little research and data on exact statistics, most likely due to the delicate nature of the matter, which is nearly never discussed, particularly in Asian countries.
Based on a local study published in the journal Plos One in 2020, the prevalence of urinary incontinence during pregnancy in Malaysia is relatively high, with 40.9% of the study respondents experiencing the condition.
There are numerous types of urinary incontinence, but the most common after childbirth is stress urinary incontinence.
This is caused by the stretching of the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and delivery.
This condition is likely to make women feel uncomfortable and hinder their work and social lives, as even the slightest movement or activity, such as coughing, laughing, sneezing or heavy lifting, can result in urine leakage.
Get reliable, scientific solutions
With so much information readily available online, new mothers may feel overwhelmed and wish to seek a simple solution.
It is important to use only supplements, medications and treatment devices that have been received from a reliable source, are backed by solid scientific data, and have been granted official approval by the appropriate authorities.
It is best to avoid any medication or solution that appears to be too harsh during the first month after delivery.
Because this is a time of healing, any exercise should be gentle and never strenuous.
The body is recovering in a variety of ways, and we can assist it by doing basic things like resting, refraining from strenuous activities, and eating healthily.
As much as we want to get back “in shape”, women must always prioritise their health and seek professional medical advice to ensure that they are getting the most important nutrients in the healthiest way possible.
Treatments should be performed in a professional and accredited setting, and health should always take precedence over appearance.
No symptom or query is foolish or embarrassing.
Every woman’s experience is different, and the first few weeks after childbirth are not a time to judge your body or yourself.
Rather, it is a time to heal and appreciate your bumps, stripes, scars and pockets of fat for delivering your little wonder into the world.
While there are numerous therapy methods available today, consult with your doctor to determine the safest treatment for yourself.
On the one hand, we want to feel and look better as soon as possible, but on the other, we also need to give our bodies time to heal.
It’s a fine line, but technology has come a long way in providing safe and effective solutions to treat common postpartum issues today – there is no need to suffer in silence and shame.
Dr Dinesh Kanesan and Dr Sarahanna Selvarajah both specialise in aesthetic medicine. For more information, email [email protected]. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only, and should not be considered as medical advice. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this article. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.