What Does Postpartum Perineal Care Include?

postpartum perineal care

Every woman’s journey into motherhood is different, and even for parents of multiple children, no two pregnancy experiences are ever the same. 

While pregnancy is a great time of joy, giving birth can create a traumatic experience for the body, especially if the delivery is complicated. A reality for some women is that postpartum depression or other medical complications may follow the delivery of a baby. 

Perineal care is recommended for any new mother to ensure her health or to identify and treat any concerns following delivery to reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression. Postpartum perineal care involves examining the mother’s physical, social, and psychological well-being after their baby has been delivered. If you are wondering what postpartum perineal care might involve, we will look at each aspect of perineal care in-depth to help you better understand what it is.

Physical Examination

After the delivery of your baby, your doctor will physically examine the perineum and look for any tears or episiotomies. They will be checking for signs of infection and monitoring overall healing. 

Your doctor may also suggest follow-up treatments or medication that help support you in recovery. During this examination, be sure to share any information with your doctor regarding post-birth bowel movements, urination, or pelvic pain.

Social Assessment

Many new mothers find that their lives change once they have introduced an infant into the home. They may feel overwhelmed by the pressures of having a new life to care for or may find that they have lost time with their partner or other loved ones due to their new responsibilities. 

Mothers who have given birth to more than one child can also find that their emotional state has changed with an added feeling of stress now having a new child in the home. As such, this social assessment is a vital part of postpartum care. 

During your social assessment, your doctor will ask you questions about how you are adjusting to motherhood, how your lifestyle has changed, and how you are handling these changes emotionally. They might recommend that you attend sessions with a counselor or therapist to help navigate any struggles or concerns that you may have postpartum. 

Psychological Assessment

Postpartum depression is a common yet severe side effect of giving birth that many women experience each year. It is critical to know that there are ways for you to manage your postpartum depression and return to being yourself again.

During this part of the assessment, you can freely and openly express any fears, sadness, or anxieties you have after giving birth without judgment. The psychological evaluation includes thoroughly evaluating your mental health status by asking questions about your moods, thoughts, and feelings over recent weeks or months. Your answers will help determine whether further treatment is needed.

Your OBGYN specialist will want to know if you’re struggling with postpartum depression so they can determine the best way to treat it. They may recommend that you follow up with a therapist or psychiatrist in addition to other forms of treatment. 

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression can be hard to detect because symptoms vary from woman to woman. However, there are a few common signs that you can look for. According to the Mayo Clinic,  some of the symptoms of postpartum depression you should watch out for include: 

Mild Symptoms: 

  • Experiencing mood swings 
  • Feelings of anxiety 
  • Sadness and irritability 
  • Feeling like you are overwhelmed
  • Episodes of crying 
  • Reduced or impaired concentration 
  • Problems maintaining a healthy appetite
  • Troubles with falling asleep or staying asleep 

Moderate to Severe Symptoms

  • Extreme mood changes
  • Excessive/uncontrollable crying
  • Difficulties forming a bond with your new baby
  • Social withdrawal
  • Appetite and sleep irregularities
  • Feelings of fatigue or low energy
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in once-enjoyed activities
  • Irritability and anger
  • Anxiety over not being a good mother
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Difficulty thinking clearly or making decisions
  • Feelings of Restlessness
  • Low self-esteem or self-image
  • Severe panic attacks or episodes of intense anxiety
  • Thoughts of self-harm or harming your new baby
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

Postpartum Psychosis (Most Severe): 

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Extreme obsessive thoughts about the baby
  • Episodes of hallucinations or delusions
  • Disturbances during sleep
  • Excessively energetic or agitated
  • Episodes of Paranoia
  • Attempts to self-harm or cause harm to your baby

If you are experiencing some or all of these symptoms, disclosing them to your doctor during your perineal assessment is important. Regardless of severity, postpartum depression could worsen and progress to symptoms of psychosis if left untreated. 

If you or your partner have made an attempt to harm yourself or your child, call 911 immediately or visit your nearest emergency room. Doing so can help prevent serious injury or death in the event of a violent episode. 

With You Through Your Full Pregnancy Journey

Pregnancy is a time of significant change and growth, but it can also be challenging. At OBGYN Associates of Idaho Falls, we pride ourselves on being the leading provider of OBGYN services in the Idaho Falls area. Our team is dedicated to supporting women through all stages of pregnancy, from fertility treatments to postpartum perineal care. 

We are here for you throughout your pregnancy journey and want to help make this experience as positive as possible. Don’t hesitate to contact our doctors in Idaho falls today if you want to make an appointment with one of our providers.

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