What Happens to Your Body After Baby—the Stuff That Is Rarely Talked About
Some Tips for Post Birth
The picture sums it up—you really don't know how you feel at any given moment of the day. The only thing that's certain is you love your new baby more than you have ever loved anything EVER. Now, everyone always talks about all the wonderful things about pregnancy and having a baby, but no one ever tells you about all the other things that happen to our bodies after the baby comes. Maybe it's because we are so happy to have our new little bundle that we don't really think about it too much, or we just don't want to talk about all the "gross" things that happen. I am going to tell you some of the things that do happen.
The Big Ouch
First, there is the perineum, that's the area between your vagina and rectum. It will either stretch during labor and sometimes rip, or it will have to be cut if you were anything like me and had a big baby. Whichever way it happens, that area is going to be very, very sore. Standing, walking and sitting can be very painful. Keeping a cold pack down there helps a lot and doing some Kegel exercises helps, too. They help strengthen the area back up. You just might have to wait a little while before you start those.
Next would be the afterbirth pains; ugh, seriously, it's like having a really bad period. But, you have to figure that your uterus has to go back to its original size so it's going to cramp until it does. Luckily though, it should only last a few days.
The Yucky Stuff
Then, of course, is all the bloody discharge, and there is a lot of it. Did I say in the comment above that it's like having a really bad period? Well, this takes the cake. Your body has to get rid of all the blood and tissue that was inside the uterus. For the first couple days it heavy and bright red and contains clots; for some, like me, it will be heavy for a full week. Over time, it lightens up, and it's not so bad. The discharge will last a few weeks; I know it sucks, but hey, you didn't have a period for 9 months so now you get to make up for it. YAY! Now there isn't much you can do for this except wear pads—DO NOT wear tampons.
Now for the hemorrhoids and constipation. Most women get hemorrhoids during pregnancy; they tend to get worse during labor and after. Of course, you have the hemorrhoid creams to help, but there's also the ever faithful warm bath. Eating foods that are high in fiber help and of course drinking lots of water. Try not to strain when going to the bathroom. Which of course brings me to the constipation portion of this. Constipation can be really bad for a lot of women after birth, which of course can make your hemorrhoids worse and make it very painful to use the bathroom. Again, eating foods high in fiber and drinking lots of water help, but, also asking your doctor for some really good medicine or a stool softener is always a good idea.
On to the Changes
Of course, there is also the skin changes and hair changes. There is, of course, the stretch marks which not everyone gets but most do. Then there is the acne that comes from all the hormonal changes. For the stretch marks, olive oil is awesome. For the acne, talk to your dermatologist about the best option for you. Now the hair changes, most women love their hair during pregnancy, it's thicker and fuller and shiny. After however, it seems dull and when you wash it in the shower, clumps come out. It freaks you out as your once thick full hair is coming out in your hands. But, again, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables helps to protect it. Be gentle with your hair, don't wear tight ponytails and don't use a lot of heat on it. Those things can put more added stress to your hair than is already there. I know that's hard now that you have a new baby, keeping your hair pulled back is just super easy, but it does help.
Ok, so I wasn't sure if I should put this next one under the big ouch, or under changes. I decided to put it under changes since the pain only last a few days but your breasts will change forever, sorry ladies but they will. So, that brings me too.....the ever wonderful breast engorgement and nipple pain. That's when your breast fill with milk, if you breastfeed that pain will go away. If you don't breastfeed then it may take a few days for the milk to dry up. Of course, if you do breastfeed that's where the nipple pain comes into play, they will get tougher though within a few days. To help with the breast engorgement warm showers help and a really good supportive bra. For the nipple pain, they have special creams for that, not much will help those. I personally didn't use the creams really I liked olive oil or coconut oil, I used both.
You Are Going to Be Exhausted
Now, you are going through all of this stuff all at the same time your baby is not sleeping at night which brings me to this, being very very tired. Being tired is part of being a parent especially for a mom. Your body has just lost a lot of blood from giving birth and post birth and now you are up with the baby all throughout the night, you are going to be exhausted. The best way to help with this is LEAVE the dishes in the sink if the baby sleeps YOU sleep. Make sure to eat healthy foods and don't be afraid to ask for help, don't try to do it all.
Enjoy These Moments
Now, these are only a few of the more normal things that happen to your body after giving birth, there are much more and some women have a lot of different problems. Every birth is different, both of mine were so completely different. I didn't even touch on the c-section births. I had my first son vaginally and he was 9.3 pounds and I am a very petite woman so it was rough. My second son was going to be big too so my doc told me to have a c-section. These were just the ones that I personally experienced with my first son. All of this really is worth it once you have this new tiny human in your arms smiling up at you with that toothless little smile. So congratulations on your baby they really are amazing and they will bring so much joy to your life.
All of this really is worth it once you have this new tiny human in your arms smiling up at you with that toothless little smile. Enjoy those moments, though, I know it will be hard, you are exhausted and in pain and miserable and uncomfortable. Your emotions are going crazy and you really don't know which way is up sometimes. Those little fingers and toes and those sweet little coos make it all bearable. So congratulations on your baby they really are amazing and they will bring so much joy to your life. It's why we as women forget about all the pain and keep going back time and time again.
© 2017 Julie