THE POST NATAL PERIOD: AN INTRODUCTION

CONTENT

-DEFINITION

-CLASSIFICATION

-THE EVENTS IN THE PUERPERIUM

-THE CHANGES IN THE PUERPERIUM

 

DEFINITION.

The postnatal period, also known as the pueperium or the postpartum period, is the period between the delivery of the baby and the placenta till the newborn is six weeks old. This is the period at which most of the physiological and anatomical changes that had occurred in the course of pregnancy returns back to the pre- pregnancy state. Though the process of change is physiological, it is sometime associated with some pathologies or certain disease conditions.

Because of these occasional pathologies that may occur in the puerperium, it is important for women and their caregivers to be observant and aware of the very important changes, so that in the event there is any deviation from the normal, it can be detected on time and such women should be seen by the Gynecologist.

 

CLASSIFICATION.

For ease of understanding, the puerperium or the post partum period can be divided into three parts. These are:

1.  Immediate postpartum which is the first twenty four hours after delivery.

2.  Early postpartum period which is between the second to the seventh day after delivery.

3.  Late postpartum period which from the second week to the sixth week after delivery.

This classification is very important as it allows proper risk assessment and care of the puerperium or the postpartum period in other to prevent any complications that might arise.

 

EVENTS IN THE PUERPERIUM.

The events that are undertaken during the different parts of the pueperium involve:

1.  Administration of either intravenous or intramuscular oxytocin after delivery of the placenta to prevent heavy vaginal bleeding or postpartum haemorrhage.

2.  Massage of the uterus.

3.  Emptying of the bladder.

4.  Postpartum pain relief

5.  Repair of any vaginal or perineal tears.

6.  Bonding of baby with the mother.

7.  Breastfeeding

8.  Baby’s immunization

9.  Counseling on contraception and sexual intercourse.

 

CHANGES IN THE PUERPERIUM

The expected anatomical and physiological changes that do occur during the postpartum period involves mainly the following organs of the body;

1,  Uterus

2,  Cervix

3,  Vagina

4,  Perineum

5,  Abdominal wall

6,  Cardiovascular system

7,  Hematological system

8,  Breast changes and the process of lactation.

The details of the changes of the various parts of the body will be discussed briefly in the next segment.

It is well known that after delivery, the care given to women tend to reduce because it is believed that the most challenging period is during pregnancy and labor. It should be however noted that the postpartum period is as important as during pregnancy and labor, hence utmost attention should also be paid to women at this period.