There are so many unknowns about postpartum recovery! Today we are sharing 10 Things we wished we would have known when it comes to postpartum recovery!
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I remember when I was pregnant with my first child! I was so excited! At the beginning of September, my doctor told me that I would never reach my due date! Every day that month I expected I would have a little boy in my arms by the end of the day! It never happened. His due date came and went… 10 days later my water finally broke! My dreams of being a mother were finally coming true!
The pain that was coming or what could possibly go wrong didn’t concern me because, with it being my first, I didn’t really know any better, yet. I had read stuff and taken prenatal classes. Just a few hours later, 6 to be exact, and a few pushes I was holding the most beautiful baby boy I had ever seen! Labor was not what I expected it to be, but it was okay… But what came next was even more of a surprise to me!
Nobody tells you about all the things that happen after your cute bundle of joy arrives. Here are the 10 things I wish I had known about postpartum recovery before having a baby.
Your uterus continues to contract as it returns to its normal size after you deliver your new little one. This especially happens while you are breastfeeding. I can remember the first time I felt a contraction after the birth of my first child. It was in the hospital while I was breastfeeding Colby and I about doubled me over. There were a couple more but the pain lessened with each one. While I was at the hospital I talked to the nurse and she informed about why happened and that it was totally normal. Not everyone will have painful contractions. Sometimes you will just feel a tightening in your abdomen. Sometimes you won’t feel anything. But be aware there can be pain. Heat can help alleviate some of the pain.
Drugs or anesthesia used during delivery can cause constipation. It is important to drink plenty of water and eat foods that have lots of fiber. Sometimes you may need a stool softener to help with constipation. You can ask your doctor if necessary. And yes, if you are like me it hurts when you poop for the first time after labor…
Oh, my sweet children have given me a gift that I will have with me for the rest of my life, hemorrhoids! I developed several hemorrhoids, especially after our sweet caboose! Since I did not have them ever before in my life I was oblivious to what they were! They are painful and itchy! Witch hazel pads are a great remedy for hemorrhoids.
After birth, you will continue to have hormonal shifts. It takes awhile for your hormones to level out. Hormonal shifts can cause mood swings, increased sweating—especially at night when you sleep, and they can cause hair loss. I have lost so much hair it’s not even funny! Don’t worry you won’t go bald!
These shifts can also cause what some call the “baby blues.” This causes moms to be sad at times after the baby is born. It usually lasts just a couple of weeks, but it can last for the whole first year. During this time it is good to talk to others if you are experiencing difficulties.
In more extreme cases, women can experience postpartum depression. This is a more severe sadness, and if it lasts more than just a few weeks and you have feelings of hopelessness, you should call your doctor.
The area between your vagina and your anus can tear during labor. If it does, it will be stitched. Sometimes the doctor will cut this area as well if needed to avoid tearing. With two of my children, I tore during labor. Once I delivered my babies, they numb it with a local and stitch you up. The stitching does not hurt. Afterward, it is usually sore and you want to be especially careful while wiping. Sitting on ice packs can help relieve the pain. Using a squirt bottle with warm water to clean the area after going to the bathroom works great!
Sore Nipples and Breast
Experiencing sore nipples and breasts for the first few days is totally normal. If you are experiencing pain past a week then it might mean your baby isn’t latching on properly. Seeking a lactation specialist to help might be helpful. They can help you adjust what you are doing and make breastfeeding an enjoyable experience. You can also use nipple cream to relieve some of the pain you are experiencing!
Usually, your breasts will swell as they fill with milk. This can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. At times it will make it difficult to breastfeed. Expressing milk out with a pump or by hand can help relieve them. Also, warm showers can help relieve some of the discomforts.
Vaginal Bleeding and Discharge
There will be continual bleeding and discharge—sometimes up to six weeks after the birth of your baby. This is called Lochia. And it’s your bodies way of eliminating the extra blood and tissue. During this time you need to use pads instead of tampons. Tampons can introduce bacteria and cause infections.
You Are Tired!
During postpartum recovery, you are constantly tired. This can be caused by the loss of blood, long labor, and from having to push for a long period of time. Not to mention your sweet bundle of joy might not be letting you sleep. Give yourself a break! Sleep when you can. In fact, try to sleep whenever your baby is sleeping. Yes, this can be difficult when you have other kids! You just grew a human for nine months and you need to recover!
Your Stomach Won’t Be Flat
I was pretty naive, I’ll admit it! I thought that I would pop out a baby and fit right back into my pants I was wearing before I had Colby! Boy was I wrong! I didn’t anticipate still looking as pregnant as I did. In fact, I looked like I was about 6 months pregnant still! Your stomach will still be round and jelly-like. It takes a while for your stomach to regain its shape. With a little work it can be flat again, but don’t rush it. Give your body a chance to heal.
There you have it, the 10 things I wish I had known about postpartum recovery before having my first child.
Michele is a Family Life Educator. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!