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The Complications You Should Watch For After Giving Birth

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently published an article titled ‘3 Conditions to Watch for After Childbirth’. It was written by Dr. Dotun Ogunyemi who is an obstetrician-gynecologist who specializes in maternal-fetal medicine. The article is about the three medical conditions that Dr. Ogunyemi believes women should watch out for after giving birth.

It is good to know about these conditions before giving birth so that you can be aware of the signs and symptoms to watch for. These conditions can happen and progress quickly. They can be life-threatening and require emergency medical attention. If women know what to look for ahead of time and get medical care when needed, they are more likely to recover quickly. Getting timely treatment is essential for these medical conditions. The three conditions to be aware of are postpartum preeclampsia, hemorrhage, and endometritis.

What You Should Know About Postpartum Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a condition known to happen before giving birth but it can also happen afterward. It usually transpires within a few days of delivery but it could happen up to six weeks afterward.

There are three main signs of preeclampsia which are high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and swelling. Often these signs can go unnoticed if a woman is not aware to look for them. If your healthcare provider thinks you may be at risk, make sure to monitor your blood pressure after delivery. Preeclampsia can be dangerous if not treated. It can cause stroke, seizures, kidney and liver damage.

Other signs and symptoms to watch for are changes in vision, headache, shortness of breath, shoulder pain, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and sudden weight gain. If you develop any of these symptoms you should seek medical care immediately. Preeclampsia can be very dangerous. It is important to catch symptoms early and get treatment so you do not develop severe complications. Standard treatment includes medications to lower blood pressure and close monitoring.

What You Should Know About Postpartum Hemorrhage

Having bleeding after delivering a baby is normal but it should lessen in volume and lighten in color as time goes on. Postpartum hemorrhage bleeding is abnormal and can be dangerous if left untreated. The main sign of hemorrhage is heavy bleeding and passing blood clots. A guideline to help gauge how much bleeding is too much is counting the number of soaked sanitary pads. If you are soaking two or more pads in an hour and that lasts for longer than 1 or 2 hours, that is a sign that you are bleeding too much. Also, be on the lookout for passing large blood clots. If this happens you should seek emergency medical care immediately. Postpartum hemorrhage most often occurs during the first day after delivery but it can happen up to 12 weeks later.

Along with the bleeding, other signs and symptoms to watch for are low blood pressure, pale skin, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, rapid heart rate, vaginal pain, and perineum pain. If you think you may be having postpartum hemorrhage, go to the emergency room immediately. Treatment will depend on the reason you are bleeding and how much blood you have lost. Possible treatments include medication, abdominal massage, surgery, intravenous fluids, and blood transfusions.

What You Should Know About Postpartum Endometritis

Endometritis is inflammation and infection of the lining of the uterus. It normally occurs 2 – 10 days after childbirth but can happen up to 6 weeks after delivery. If endometritis is left untreated the infection can spread and cause sepsis.

Signs and symptoms to watch for include fever, chills, fatigue, abdominal pain, and abnormal vaginal discharge. If you develop any of these signs and symptoms you should seek emergency medical care. It is best to treat infections early so that they do not spread and cause severe complications. Treatment includes intravenous antibiotics.

Key Takeaways

  • There are 3 major medical conditions that you should be aware of after delivering a baby. They are postpartum preeclampsia, hemorrhage, and endometritis
  • Women should know the signs and symptoms of these conditions so they know what to look for
  • If you develop any signs and symptoms of these conditions, you should seek emergency medical care

Ogunyemi, D. (2022, January). 3 conditions to watch for after childbirth. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Retrieved February 25, 2022