Coming Home From The Hospital With A Baby And A Catheter? What Should You Know?

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If your first experience with a urinary catheter was during your epidural or c-section, you were likely eager for its removal so that you could urinate (and move around the room freely) on your own. Unfortunately, a small subset of women can experience major bladder-related complications during vaginal or c-section birth, and you may find yourself coming home from the hospital with not only a newborn, but a catheter in tow. Facing life with a new baby and the inability to urinate without assistance can be a challenge for even the most well-prepared mother. Read on to learn more about managing life with a catheter postpartum, as well as some steps you can take to strengthen your muscles and hopefully reduce the duration of your catheter usage.

What should you know about using a catheter while recovering from birth?

When you have a newborn, schedules are important, and this is never more true than when you have a catheter as well. Timing your meals and drinking around your child's feeding sessions (if you're breastfeeding) or even naptime if you're bottle-feeding can ensure that you're able to manage all your needs at once. When you become accustomed to using and disposing of catheters--which you'll be able to get through a place like Medi-Rents & Sales Inc--you'll be able to incorporate it into your routine as easily as bottles and diaper changes -- albeit hopefully for a much shorter period of time. 

It may take some time for you to find a catheter brand you're most comfortable with, as the best catheter for you can vary based on your size and even your bladder position. Fortunately, these supplies are sold by a variety of online retailers, making it as easy to order different catheters (in various quantities) as it is to order diapers or formula to be delivered to your door. It isn't a time to skimp on cost -- if you aren't comfortable with your current brand of catheter or are finding yourself reluctant to drink because you know it means pain later, it's worth it to buy as many different catheters as it takes to find one that minimizes your discomfort.

If you're breastfeeding, you'll want to make sure you're well-hydrated (but with an empty bag) before sitting down to feed your infant to ensure your session can go without interruption. You'll also want to plan public excursions carefully, making note of where restrooms are -- something you'll need to quickly get used to as a parent regardless of your own urinary needs.

You may want to create a few urinary supply kits in small, sterile bags that are easy to throw in your purse or a diaper bag. Including some gloves, hand sanitizer, catheters, petroleum jelly, and other products that can make the process much easier. Doing this can significantly reduce your chances of a urinary tract infection and will ensure you're always prepared, whether you're with your baby or on your own.

Is there anything you can do to reduce the amount of time you'll need a catheter?

While some women have a specific diagnosis requiring catheter use for a predetermined amount of time, others may be facing muscle fatigue or nerve damage that makes urination possible -- but difficult. By strengthening the muscles around your urethra by doing Kegel exercises or even seeking chiropractic treatment to try to get your nerves firing again, you should be able to reduce the length of time you'll need a catheter to assist yourself with urination. You may want to work closely with a urologist during the months following your child's birth to ensure your time using catheters is as short as it can be.