Health, Lifestyle

Medical Query: Postpartum

The exit of the foetus and the placenta starts what is known in medicine as postpartum, the period which the female reproductive organs begin to ‘return’ its pre-pregnancy state, and also, all kinds of organisms including the medical, physical and anatomical sense.

José A. de la Osa (*)

The re-appearance of menstruation marks the end of the stage. For women who do not breastfeed their children, this could last for an average period of 42 days, hence the popular terminology of quarantine. However, especially for mothers who do breastfeed, it is also natural for their period to continue to be absent for a longer time.

Surely this is a long and difficult stage for a woman as some specialists claim?

I wouldn’t particularly consider it long and the term ‘difficult’ is in direct relation with the way that her familiar surroundings face this period, believes doctor Roque Frías, experienced specialist with a long career in Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Consultant Professor at the Havana University of Medicine and Masters in Integral Care for Women.

Does it appear in similar ways in all women?

Postpartum isn’t an illness. However, we have to remember that “there aren’t illnesses without sick people” and it is unquestionable that we don’t all evolve in the same way.

What changes occur in the physiological, medical, anatomical and also in the emotional state?

They create general and local transformations. The genital organs go back to their original state, lactation starts and the absence of menstruation continues if you start breastfeeding and are also responsible for the mother’s condition, which influences her emotional state.

What should be considered the main medical focus in postpartum?

Medical care should start from the pregnancy stage and the prime value a medical education, aimed at highlighting the high responsibility that are encompassed in the mother’s role and to understand the physical changes that happen during this process.

And for the individual does the sole responsibility of health contribute in some way to avoiding some complications?

The woman should take top priority. Correct hygiene, appropriate diet and the right exercises to promote the rehabilitation of her organisms, among other aspects, they directly contribute to avoiding complications.

What’s considered the most worrying complications for obstetricians?

Infection. If it were significant it could become a matter of risk for the woman in her postpartum state.

What role do her family surroundings play? How do they support the new mum?

The role of the family, and especially the partner, is extremely transcendent. The idea shouldn’t be to “help” the new mother, but to “share” the worries, tasks and responsibilities with her.

Do they ask you for an account straight away to re-establish sexual activity?

This is a very interesting aspect for the couple and because of this it is necessary in some occasions to use medical aids, primarily confronted by the persistent vaginal bleeding or depressive states of afterbirth.

Certainly amongst women who breastfeed their children don’t run any risk of becoming pregnant during unprotected intercourse?

The women who breastfeed a “free demand” exclusively with lactation greatly reduce their reproductive function in the first four months after birth. Some specialists advise using a temporary method of contraception.

If space allows it, do you have anything essential to add?

There is a crucial period of postpartum that are the first four months after birth, when the most serious complications can occur, including haemorrhages. Those in this stage. Should make the effort to seek medical attention.

(*) José A. de la Osa: contributor and editor of Prensa Latina

(Translated by Nykhil Emanuel-Stanford)

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