Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - GMC - 22

22

The "Fourth
Trimester":
Symptoms
After Birth

You might think childbirth is
the end of pregnancy-related
symptoms, but it's not. Here
is what to look for postpartum
and when to seek help.
Bleeding. Whether you
deliver vaginally or by cesarean section, you can expect
vaginal bleeding for about six
weeks after the baby's birth.
It will start out heavy before
subsiding. Call your doctor if
you are soaking a sanitary pad
every hour, you're passing clots
larger than a quarter, you have
a fever over 100.4 or you're
feeling dizzy or faint.
Anxiety or depression.
As your hormones begin to
return to normal after delivery,
you may experience feelings
of sadness or disappointment
known as the baby blues.
"Fatigue and physical stress
of having the baby can really
take a toll on a mom," says
Melanie Watkins, MD, an
OB/GYN at Women's Specialists
of Northside Gwinnett. "If
depression symptoms persist
more than two weeks or are
severe, you should certainly
speak with your provider."

Second Trimester

Often called the honeymoon phase of pregnancy, the second trimester typically is when
nausea and vomiting subside, your bump
is adorably noticeable and you have a good
amount of energy. There are a couple of
symptoms to keep an eye on, though.
Itchiness. As the skin on your abdomen
stretches, you might expect some itchiness in
that area. But pregnant women often report
feeling itchy all over. What gives? It has to do
with the increase in blood supply to the skin.
As long as the itchiness is mild, there's nothing
to worry about. Soothe your skin by staying
hydrated, using moisturizer and wearing
clothing made of natural fibers.
If you can't seem to keep yourself from
scratching or you have additional symptoms,
such as dark urine, gray stools or jaundice,
call your doctor right away. These may be
signs of a rare yet serious liver condition
called obstetric cholestasis, and it's dangerous
for your baby.
Swelling. Did you know that increased
blood and fluids in the body account for
about a quarter of the weight gained during
pregnancy? It's not just in your abdomen-
increased fluids circulate throughout your
body and, unfortunately, sometimes pool
in your face, hands, legs, ankles and feet.
Swelling can occur at any point in pregnancy,
but it frequently begins around five months.
As long as it doesn't come on suddenly-a
sign of preeclampsia, a potentially serious
condition that includes high blood pressure-
it's more a nuisance than anything.
"If you have access to a pool, swimming can
be a really good thing for swelling," Ruhl says.

Maternity
Education

Nervous about labor and
delivery? Knowing what to
expect can help. Northside
Hospital offers a number
of excellent educational
resources on its website.
Learn more: northside.com/
maternityresources.

PHOTO BY STOCKSY

Infection. If you had an
episiotomy, a tear repaired or
a C-section, you'll want to keep
an eye on the area for infection. "Day by day, incisions
should feel better," Dr. Watkins
says. "If you feel like it's getting worse, something may not
be healing properly, and it's a
good idea to give your provider
a call."

or difficultly initiating stream, there's nothing
to worry about-except knowing where the
public restrooms are," says Catherine Ruhl,
a doctor of nursing practice, certified nurse
midwife and director of patient education
and outreach for the Association of Women's
Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. If
you think you might have a urinary tract
infection, talk to your doctor. Without treatment, it could move to the kidneys and cause
preterm labor.

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