Puerperium is the period beginning immediately after the birth of a child until the uterus returns to its normal size, usually 6 weeks in duration. During this time, the changes that a mother goes through during pregnancy, returns to the non-pregnant state.
Some of the common changes that occur during the puerperium period include:
- The vaginal wall regains its original tone but remains fragile for 1-2 weeks.
- The uterus shrinks back to its normal size and position.
- The cardiovascular system reduces its load and starts pumping blood sufficient for the mother in the first 2 weeks.
- The colour of lochia (vaginal discharge)is bright red on postpartum days 3-4, reddish-brown after day 3-10 and then turns yellow. However, it may become red again for a few days.
- Urine levels decrease and reach normal levels in 4 weeks.
- The breasts enlarge with milk.
- Normal activities can be started as soon as the mother feels ready.