Your Pregnancy After 35 : After Baby’s Birth (part 5) - Tubal Ligation, Exercise after Pregnancy, Recovery from a Vaginal Birth

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- Welcome to your First Trimester
- Welcome to your Second Trimester
- Welcome to your Third Trimester

Tubal Ligation

Some women choose to have a form of surgical sterilization performed, called tubal ligation, postpartum tubal ligation or BTL, while they are in the hospital after baby’s birth. Tubal ligation is the number-one birth control method in the United States. About 28% of women who use contraception have chosen tubal ligation—11 million women. Half of all tubal sterilization procedures are performed following delivery of a baby, while the woman is still in the hospital.

The surgery involves blocking a woman’s Fallopian tubes to prevent further pregnancies. If you have decided before baby’s birth to have tubal ligation, doing it after delivery while you’re still in the hospital can make sense. If you received an epidural for your labor and delivery, you’re already anesthetized. If you didn’t have an epidural, the procedure may require general anesthesia.

The failure rate for tubal ligation is 1 to 2 in 1000 procedures. Failure rates are a little higher with tubal ligations performed immediately after delivery than they are when they are performed at other times.

If you have a postpartum tubal ligation, your healthcare provider may want to examine you 10 to 14 days after you leave the hospital. He or she will check the incision to see if it is healing properly and look for signs of infection.

Exercise after Pregnancy

Many women are eager to begin exercising after baby is born. Exercise helps you feel better physically and can lift your spirits. You can start by doing simple isometric exercises the day after delivery. Practice holding in stomach muscles, or start with mild Kegel exercises.

When you’re up and about again, you can do other forms of exercise. Do something you enjoy, and do it on a regular basis. Walking and swimming are excellent exercises to help you get back in shape. Your aerobic capacity can increase as much as 20% in the 6 weeks following baby’s birth. This is good news, especially if you’re overly fatigued. As your hormones return to a normal level, you’ll probably have more energy. Before you start any postpartum exercise program, check with your healthcare provider. He or she may have particular advice for you.

Be careful about beginning an exercise program too soon. Don’t overtire yourself by choosing a program that is too ambitious. Always get enough rest.

After a Cesarean delivery, light activity is important. In the hospital, you may have to practice coughing or deep breathing to keep lungs clear. Wiggle toes to aid circulation. Walking may not be easy, but it helps minimize the chances of developing a blood clot in your lower extremities. Check with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise routine or exercise program of any kind.

Recovery from a Vaginal Birth

A source of discomfort after you deliver will be in the vagina and between the opening of the vagina and the rectum, called the perineum. Pain or discomfort should lessen every day. You will be given a prescription for mild pain medications if necessary. It’s OK to take pain medicine, but it usually isn’t needed as much once you’re home. You may want to continue to take your prenatal vitamins or iron supplements.

It’s normal to bleed after delivery; bleeding continues for several days up to a couple of weeks. In the hospital, nurses will check bleeding to be sure it isn’t excessive. If bleeding after delivery was excessive, you may be prescribed vitamins and iron. When you leave the hospital, you will still be bleeding, but the amount of bloody discharge should be decreasing. Sometimes when you go home and are more active, bleeding may be a little heavier at first, but it shouldn’t last more than a few hours before it slows down again.

If there is concern about infection, you may be given antibiotics. If you’re Rh-negative, you may be given RhoGAM. Laxatives and stool softeners are often prescribed to help you avoid constipation.

When you go home, increase activities gradually. Walk around, eat more normally and become more active each day. You may need to rest frequently—that’s normal. Pay attention to your body. Most healthcare providers recommend you wait until after your 6-week postpartum checkup before you begin any strenuous activity, exercise or become sexually active again.

If you take pain medicines or have problems, such as dizziness, don’t drive. It’s OK to use stairs, but plan ahead so you’re not running up and down stairs all day.

Full recovery is different for every woman. If you had complications or problems, it may take longer. From 2 to 6 weeks, you should be feeling a little better every day. You probably won’t be taking pain medicine any longer, and bleeding will decrease or it will have stopped.

- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 16) - What Happens after Your Baby Is Born
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 15) - Cesarean Delivery, Vaginal Delivery of Your Baby
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 14) - What Happens after Your Baby Is Born
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 13) - When You’re Overdue
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 12) - Baby’s Birth Presentation
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 11) - Analgesics and Anesthetics
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 10) - Laboring Positions, Massage for Relief
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 9) - Coping with the Pain of Labor and Childbirth, Pain Relief without Medication
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 8) - Biophysical Profile, Fetal Monitoring during Labor
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 7) - Nonstress Test, Contraction Stress Test
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