7 Things to Expect During the Postpartum Period
The first 6 weeks following birth is known as ‘the postpartum period’. During this transition from pregnancy, your body will be going through a lot of changes, and it’s a great idea to get informed about what you can expect.
Here are 7 things to expect during the postpartum period. We’ve focused on physical and emotional changes, but if there’s anything you think we should add, don’t forget to share your wisdom with new moms in the comments!
You’ve just given birth! Things are going to be a little sore down there. This is especially true if you experienced a tear or episiotomy (a small cut to help your baby come out) during birth.
Here are a few ways that you can relieve the soreness:
- Keep a sports bottle in the bathroom and spray it on yourself as you pee.
- Freeze maxi pads before putting them in your underwear - adding aloe vera to the pads will make them even more soothing.
- Sit on a donut-shaped pillow.
- Poop as soon after birth and as often as you can! Constipation is common, so eat lots of fibrous foods and don’t wait when you feel the urge.
2. Belly cramps
You may experience some post-labor cramps as your uterus shrinks back down to size. The hormones that you produce whilst breastfeeding help with this - so expect a little cramping when you nurse.
The bleeding that you experience after birth is simply your uterus getting rid of any extra blood and tissue that was created during pregnancy. This bleeding is known as lochia (or discharge) and should only last for between 3-4 weeks.
Your milk will come in around 3 days after birth. When this happens, your breasts may become engorged and you may feel a little bit emotional. All of this is normal! Keep feeding your baby as you are (every 2-3 hours) to help your body get into a routine.
5. Stretch marks
If you developed stretch marks during pregnancy, you may notice that they become more obvious after delivery. Stretch marks are most commonly found around the lower belly, hips, and upper thighs, and though they will never fully disappear they will fade over time.
Applying lotion to your skin can help with the itching that stretch marks can cause!
6. Hair loss
You may have noticed that, during pregnancy, your hair looked amazing. Unfortunately, this is solely due to pregnancy hormones and any prenatal vitamins that you may have been taking. Once your baby has arrived your hair will most likely start to thin out - but don’t fret! This should stop after 6 months and is not permanent.
7. The baby blues
The baby blues are normal and don’t necessarily mean anything serious. You’re tired, getting used to your new life as a mama, and may be feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything that’s happening. Ensure that you’re getting lots of support from your partner, family, and friends during this time, and if it feels more serious than a case of the blues, contact your midwife or healthcare provider.
The arrival of a new baby births a new mom too! Take it easy during this time, and remember to get as much support as you can. People will want to help you - so let them! If someone comes over to visit your baby, take the opportunity to nap for an hour - you’ll feel so much better for it!