The healing period following birth can be quite varied, some people seemingly bounce back, whilst others may still have ongoing concerns for many weeks.
Midwifery Home Care
If it is your first baby, you had complications with your birth, or you are having breastfeeding difficulties, you may stay in the hospital for up to 48 hours, and then a hospital midwife will visit you at home within the next day or two to make sure you are going well. The midwife will visit between 8.30am-4pm. They can assist with any breastfeeding, parenting or recovery concerns you may have.
Midwifery Hospital in the home (Mid-HITH)
If you have no risk factors for complications identified during pregnancy, have an uncomplicated birth, can confidently feed and care for your baby, and your baby is well, it is safe for you to return home within six to 24 hours of birth. Most of the time this may be women who have had a baby before and are confident with feeding and parenting, however some first time mothers may also wish to access M-HITH. This is an extension of our ‘inpatient’ services, so you will still be under the care of the hospital doctors and midwives during this time.
It is quite common to have the ‘baby blues’, which can happen anytime around day three to 10 days after your baby is born, and is generally a very short lived period of up to a few days that you feel teary for no real reason. This is due to the hormonal changes and tiredness you often experience after birth.
Postnatal depression and anxiety occurs for about one in six mothers and begins within one to 12 months of your baby’s birth. Fathers are also at an increased risk of depression and anxiety in this period. It can sometimes be difficult to pick up, as the symptoms of depression can mimic some aspects of early parenting – like being constantly exhausted, feeling inadequate and having a reduced enjoyment in daily activities. It is important that you speak to someone and get help for this. Beyond Blue and Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia are respected organisations that can provide support and advice during this time, with 24 hour contact numbers on the back of your baby’s green book.
Lochia (vaginal loss/bleeding)
The amount of lochia (post-natal vaginal loss) each woman has can be quite different, but it is common to have quite heavy loss in the first day, with ‘gushes’ if you have been sitting or lying down for a while, followed by decreasing amounts in the following days. The heaviest bleeding is often settling within a few days, but the discharge which starts bright red, then graduates through red-brown, brown-pink, brown, yellow or white, and can last for up to six weeks after birth.
Resuming to having sex
Women will feel ready to resume having sex at differing times, but it can take up to eight weeks for the wound discomfort to cease. Often due to breastfeeding the vagina can also be drier. Try using different positions and lubrication to make sex more comfortable to start with.