- September 1, 2021
- Posted by: Woman's Health Centers
- Category: Obstetrical Care
Pregnancy is an experience like no other. As you get closer to the end of those 9 months, there’s one thing on every mother’s mind: the birth. You’ve likely done your research on labor and have decided on your childbirth plan, but what about after the birth?
Beyond the bundle of joy in your arms, take a minute to read up on what you can expect from your body after childbirth and how you can take care of yourself.
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Normal Things to Expect After Childbirth
First off, know that many of these discomforts and changes are normal. However, if you’re genuinely worried about a change in your body, make sure you speak to your doctor and go to all of your postpartum checkups.
Your doctor should help ensure that you’re recovering both emotionally and physically after both labor and birth, and will know if you’re experiencing anything outside of the norm.
Do be aware though that recovery from childbirth may take as long as eight weeks until your body has recovered, so give yourself a break in the meantime.
Of course, your belly will be much smaller than when you had your little one in there, but you’ll still have a baby belly even after you’ve given birth.
This is because your pregnancy would have stretched out your abdominal muscles and skin, so it’ll take weeks or longer for everything to shrink back down. Those of you who have done a c-section might also experience some weakness and swelling around your stomach too.
With your belly, you’ll notice that you probably will continue to weigh more. This is nothing to worry about, and is just some excess water weight. This is true when you get a c-section as well, but you’ll begin to shed this weight within the first week. Don’t be surprised if you’re peeing a lot and sweating a lot too.
This is to be expected, but you’ll definitely be experiencing some soreness in your perineum—the space between your vagina and rectum. This part of your body will stretch and possibly tear during a vaginal birth, so it’s completely understandable that it will be sore.
Your breasts and nipples will likely be sore as well, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Even if you’re not breastfeeding, your breasts will still swell, making them tender and sore. Pumping your milk will help, and use cold packs on your breasts if it’s really painful.
Along with soreness in your stomach and some persistent weight, you’ll likely experience some pains in your abdomen and belly. This is to be expected as your uterus shrinks to its normal size, but it can still be frightening when you feel some sharp or dull pains. You might even feel these when breastfeeding, since it will cause your uterus to tighten.
Try applying some heat to your stomach, and talk to your doctor if this pain is something that does not fade over time.
You should expect some vaginal discharge as your body gets rid of the blood and tissue from the uterus. For the first few days, you’ll notice bright red bleeding and maybe blood clots. This can actually continue for up to a month, and you should just treat it like a normal period.
Just wear pads instead of tampons during this time, and check with your doctor if you feel the bleeding is excessive.
It’s so exciting having your new baby, but many mothers experience sudden shifts in their emotions. You might go from being happy to sad in a moment, and suddenly wonder why you feel that way.
Feeling like this is normal for the first few weeks, and if it persists, it might be postpartum depression.
Rest assured that this is nothing to be ashamed of. Tell your partner or family members how you’re feeling and make sure you get help if you need it.
Your body goes through a lot with pregnancy, and it’s still going through a lot even after you’ve given birth. You might still feel contractions, you’ll have mood swings as your hormones shift, and you’ll have soreness amongst other things.
All of this can be difficult to handle especially with your newborn in your arms but it does help to be prepared mentally for them. Just remember that these pains will last a few months but all the wonderful moments with your little one will last for years.