All first-time mothers are concerned about the health and safety of their babies. But what about their own physical health after giving birth?
In this article, we will discuss about your postpartum body as you will acquire a clear understanding of what you are going through and how best to prepare for postpartum for a graceful and happy transition into motherhood.
Recovering from Birth: What Happens Inside Your Postpartum Body
Also called the postnatal period or the puerperium, postpartum is the 6 week period from the time of the birth until the woman is no longer considered a pediatric patient. Women in this phase may feel energetic and exuberant to get back into the normal routine but they may feel more exhaustion than usual at night, have renewed postpartum bleeding, cry for no apparent reasons, and such.
If you are a new mom, you may talk with your doctor about the anticipated changes that you will experience during your postpartum recovery. According to the article in Women’s Health, here are the things that will occur in your body:
- You will have vaginal discharge called lochia, which is the tissue and blood that lined your uterus during pregnancy. It is heavy and bright red at first, becoming lighter in flow and color until it goes away after a few weeks.
- You may feel some swelling in your legs and feet. Reduce the swelling by keeping your feet elevated when possible.
- You may experience constipation so drink lots of water and eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
- You will feel some mild cramps as your uterus slowly contracts back to its usual size, shape, and position.
- Your breast milk will start within 3-6 days after your delivery. During breastfeeding, you may temporarily experience sore nipples and engorgement.
- You may lose some hair, develop acne, feel teary, and have night sweats until your hormones return to normal.
- If you’ve had a vaginal delivery, you may have trouble with peeing as often as you did like when you were pregnant. This is due to the excess fluid from your pregnancy that has to be eliminated.
- If you’ve had a caesarean section, you’ll need to give yourself at least 12 weeks to recover from the abdominal surgery.
- Some women develop develop thyroid problems in the first year after giving birth which is called postpartum thyroiditis that lasts 2-4 months and others can last up a year.
- After childbirth, you may feel sad, weepy, and overwhelmed for a few days. You may experience some “baby blues” after giving birth due to the changing hormones, anxiety about caring the baby, and lack of sleep. Some experience postpartum depression which is a more serious but treatable condition.
More about managing and overcoming postpartum depression on this page.
Your Guide in Healing Your Postpartum Body
- 1. Follow a healthy eating plan along with a regular physical fitness in order for you to return to a healthy weight. Cut back on foods with added sugars and fats like soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, fatty meats, and alcohol.
- 2. You may still experience perineum soreness so sitting on an ice pack several times a day for 10 minutes after going to the bathroom will help relieve your pain. Notify your doctor if your perineum area does not get less sore each day or you have any sign of infection.
- 3. Practice Kegel exercises in which you squeeze and release your pelvic floor muscles can help improve your symptoms.
- 4. When you are having some vaginal discharge, use extra maxi sanitary pads only during this time and avoid using tampons because it can cause bacterial infection and infection. You can also wear mesh undies to avoid having a large laundry pile.
- 5. Make sure to take adequate time to rest.
- 6. If you were given an episiotomy, or experienced tearing, you need to have a sitz bath to help keep your undercarriage clean and the soak will be soothing.
- 7. If you developed hemorrhoids during pregnancy or after childbirth, wipe with medicated pads with witch hazel to soothe and cool your intimate area.
- 8. If you have family members, relative, or close friends that are coming over your house to see the baby, try to ask some help from them. Ask somebody to do your household chores and take care of the baby if you feel sick.
Being a new mom is a new challenge but it is a worthwhile experience with your new bundle of joy. In order to recover and be comfortable with your body after childbirth, the aforementioned steps are essential.
More about postpartum recovery on this page.
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