The period that starts after the birth of the baby and her partner and until the physiological changes that occur in the mother’s body during pregnancy disappear and the genital organs return to their pre-pregnancy shape is called the puerperal period, which is approximately six weeks. However, it may take months for the organs and systems in the mother to return to their pre-pregnancy state.
Restoration of physiological changes during pregnancy during puerperium is called involution. The most significant involution occurs in the womb. During pregnancy, the volume and weight of the uterus increase significantly. After birth, it starts to regain its former shape rapidly. The vagina is edematous in the postpartum period. There are bruised areas in the soft and loose vagina. Vagina, which is stretched severely during the transition of the baby, returns to its original state quite slowly after birth. However, it never gets old. It undergoes involution on small and large lips, but cannot completely return to its original state, remains a little loose and drooping. The color change in the skin decreases rapidly during the puerperium and the skin regains its old appearance within ten days. The excessive sweating during the puerperium, especially with breastfeeding, helps to quickly resolve the edema in the skin tissue.
The abdominal wall, which is stretched during pregnancy, takes a turban appearance immediately after birth. Again, during pregnancy, the bluish-red appearance of pregnancy lines called striae gravidarum on the skin of the abdomen become silvery-white bright stripes after birth.
An average of eight kilograms of weight is lost in the first ten days of puerperium with the delivery of the baby and its partner, postpartum hemorrhage, sweating and discharge. The pulse rate, which increased with the birth, returns to normal, and the blood picture returns to normal within 8-10 days following the birth.
After birth, the stomach, small intestines and large intestines regain their former state and place. In the first days of puerperium, abdominal distension and constipation can be seen.
Immediately after birth, edema and redness occur in the urinary bladder. There may be increased bladder capacity and insensitivity to intravesical fluid pressure. As a result, conditions such as excessive stretching, inability to empty the bladder and residual urine occur. This urine remaining in the bladder creates a suitable environment for infection to settle.
In women who are not breastfeeding, the onset of menstrual bleeding may extend up to the 12th week. The longer the lactation period in lactating women, the later the onset of menstrual bleeding. The first menstruation may be delayed up to 1 year in mothers who regularly breastfeed. In general, the menstrual periods observed in the first 6 weeks are considered to be without ovulation, but once the period starts, the chance of the following periods to be ovulation increases rapidly.