Advice given by Dr Elizabeth Kershaw-Yates, GP and one of the medical team at TheOnlineClinic: https://www.theonlineclinic.co.uk/

If you choose to breast feed, mastitis can be a problem

If you choose to breast feed, mastitis can be a problem

Low Mood/ Anxiety

Do you think everyone is having a brilliant time with their baby, but you can’t stop crying? First, you need to remember that lots of people struggle with a new baby but because we see it as a failure we don’t tell each other. Speak to a good friend with kids and tell them how you are feeling, they can help you navigate through the rollercoaster of emotions, including those where you hate your partner! If your mood continues to dip, then make an appointment to see your GP. Signs you might have post natal depression are tearfulness, snapping/ anger or low motivation. Obviously, none of these are helped by the exhaustion all mums feel. There are lots of good online resources for mums feeling low. Have a look around, know you are not alone and that there is help available.

Breast infections

If you choose to breast feed, mastitis can be a problem. This can happen if there is trauma to the nipple by poor latch - ask a Health Visitor to check latch. Breast feeding is not always comfortable but any sharp pains when the baby latches should be investigated. Also, if there is any redness on the breast or if you have a fever without another cause, this needs to be reviewed by a GP, or call 111 if it’s out of hours. Women can get very unwell with mastitis, so it is important to seek medical help. In the early stages, the advice is to continue feeding from that side as much as possible, this may be very painful but will help the infection to clear.

Bleeding

If you continue to bleed after the six-week point, this should be reported to your GP. Any smelly, offensive discharge, especially if accompanied by abdominal pain and fever, should be investigated immediately as it could indicate a serious womb infection. Periods after having a baby can be intermittent, light and unscheduled. However, some people find their periods get heavy and difficult to manage. Speak to your GP if you have concerns about your periods and also about starting contraception.

Urinary Incontinence

Post baby, you may find laughing tricky without a loo close by! This can be embarrassing, and it is a sign that you need to get on with those pelvic floor exercises, whenever you remember. As with all things related to post pregnancy, if it continues for longer than six months, speak to your GP. If you had a difficult birth with instrumentation, there may have been damage to the nerves in the area. Discuss this with your GP and get an early referral back to gynaecology if indicated.

Sexual Dysfunction

Not wanting to have sex can have a number of reasons, but can cause strain in a relationship already under strain from sleep deprivation, change in roles in the home etc. Physical pain on intercourse indicates you need a review with a healthcare professional. It may be that an episiotomy scar needs revision, or you have a small prolapse. Speak to your GP - don’t be embarrassed we literally have seen and heard everything and nothing will shock us. Sexual dysfunction could also be psychological. If you are feeling low, the last thing you might want to do is be intimate with your partner. Having help with your mood may improve this. In addition, if you had a very traumatic birth it maybe you need some psychological support to help deal with what happened. Speak to your GP about counselling.


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