The postpartum period is often characterized by pain and discomfort, but many mothers don’t know when what they are experiencing isn’t normal. Postpartum complications are incredibly common, with an average of 700 women dying from postnatal issues each year in the United States. What makes this stat horrible is that three out of five of those deaths are preventable, according to the CDC. Watch out for these common postpartum problems to ensure your safety and wellbeing and that of your newborn: Image Source
1. Postpartum Hemorrhage
Postpartum hemorrhage is characterized by heavy bleeding hours, days, or weeks after giving birth. It affects 5% of new mothers and can lead to death in the worst-case scenario. Symptoms to look out for include bright red bleeding more than three days after birth, continuous bleeding, heavy blood clots, blurred vision, clammy skin, chills, rapid heartbeat, nausea, weakness, and dizziness. Most cases of postpartum hemorrhage are a result of underlying medical issues, but if you believe yours was caused by negligent handling on the healthcare provider’s part, you should file a medical malpractice insurance claim. A law firm such as Schultz & Myers can approach the clinic’s insurer on your behalf while you focus on recovery.
2. Infection and Sepsis
Urinary, wound, uterine, mastitis, and upper respiratory infections are also relatively common shortly after birth. The good thing about bacterial infections is that they are easy to detect and can be treated with antibiotics. The problem comes in when you fail to detect them early or ignore them for too long. This way, they can develop into sepsis, pulmonary embolism, abscesses, septic shock, or some other more serious condition.
3. Pulmonary Embolism
Pulmonary embolism is a common culprit behind postnatal maternal deaths in the U.S. It occurs when blood clots along an artery in the lungs shortly after delivery. If detected early, the condition can be controlled, so new mothers should be keen to spot early signs like bloody cough, sharp chest pain, and shortness of breath. They should particularly be vigilant in the presence of risk factors such as prolonged labor, C-section birth, hypertension, advanced maternal age, and dehydration.
With a maternal mortality rate of more than 25%, postpartum stroke might be rare, but it is an extremely dangerous condition for new mothers. It typically occurs between five days and two weeks after delivery and usually targets obese and older mothers.
It is not uncommon for new moms to go through crying spells, mood swings, stress, anxiety, and sadness days or weeks after delivery. This is popularly known as the baby blues, and most moms recover from it within days. For some, the postpartum depression symptoms last longer and take a toll on their ability to function. Make sure to seek help if it gets there, including if it happens outside the postpartum period.
While you are highly unlikely to die from a postpartum complication, there is nothing positive about being a sufferer of any of the above conditions while breastfeeding. Talk to a doctor if you experience any physical or mental oddity, and make sure to adhere to any postnatal recommendations given to you.