Postpartum is one of the least talked about topics following pregnancy. The doctors, family members, even you are a bit more focused on the new life than the recovery of the mama. Postpartum is hard and it’s gross but it’s so important for you to know what to expect. It’s not really something that most mommas are prepared for. Keep reading to learn more about what happens to your body and emotions entering postpartum, as well as a list of recovery essentials you won’t want to forget.
Your Body Postpartum
First, your body is amazing and just endured birthing a child! However, if anyone tells you that it’s an easy recovery…they’re lying. There are a lot of changes your body endures during postpartum recovery. Never be afraid to reach out to your doctor. That’s what they’re there for and they’ve surely heard it all. Here’s what to expect with your body postpartum:
- If you get an epidural, your back will ache. Bending over to change your baby, standing too long, sitting too long, it’ll hurt.
- Your uterus will begin to shrink back to size, but it will be painful. You may experience cramp-like pain or short sharp pains as your body resizes itself.
- If you had a vaginal birth, you’ll most-likely get stitches. As your body heals itself, it can cause pain. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to care for your stitches and your pain will subside with time.
- You may pass clots and will continue to bleed but it will slow and eventually stop.
- Your body will be swollen after birth…seemingly everywhere. Swelling will eventually go down and your doctor will keep the fluids coming to replenish them and hydrate you.
- Your stomach will still be larger than it used to be before pregnancy, but your uterus will eventually begin to resize itself.
- Your body will most-likely change in shape. And that’s okay because you just had a baby! Don’t forget how strong and beautiful you are.
- Your feet will get very swollen as well. Keep them elevated to help the swelling go down.
- If you choose to breastfeed, be prepared for it to be difficult. Breastfeeding is hard and it’s painful.
- Your nipples will hurt a lot when you start and can become very dry. However, it will get better with time, trust the process!
- You may get what’s called “milk fever.” When your milk is being produced, you may get a temperature and feel similar to how you feel when you’re catching a cold. Don’t worry, it will pass within 48 hours.
- Be prepared for the possibility of a clogged milk duct. If you develop a fever or notice a hard lump on your breast, talk with your doctor.
Your Emotions Postpartum
Immediate Postpartum Emotions
Once you’ve given birth and you’re finally holding your baby in your arms, you’ll feel a whirlwind of emotions. Here’s what to expect immediately after birth:
Joy: Your little bundle of joy will cause you so much joy! You’ll be ecstatic with your new little one.
Relief: Most mommas are afraid of the birthing process. You finally got through it and you’ll feel relieved that it’s finally over!
Amazement: You’ll be in awe with this new life you brought into the world.
Pride: You’ll feel an overwhelming sense of pride and you should be proud of yourself! You just went through hours of labor to give birth to a perfect little baby and that’s an awesome accomplishment.
Insecure: If this is your first, you’ve obviously never had to be a momma before. You’ll experience feelings of insecurity not knowing how to care for your newborn. With time, you’ll begin to know them very well. You’ll get to know their hunger cries, their sleepy cries, etc. So try not to even worry about it.
Later Postpartum Emotions
Now that all of the immediate feelings have worn off and you’ll most likely be going home in a day or two. Here’s what to expect in the days following the birth of your newborn:
Exhaustion: The one feeling everyone talks about. And it will hit you hard. Your baby will wake up every few hours to eat, in need of a diaper change, or you won’t know exactly why they’re awake. You’ll be running on little sleep as you learn to take care of your newborn.
Depression: Postpartum depression is a real thing. As your hormones fluctuate afterbirth and you’re getting little sleep, the chemicals in your brain may change. 1 in 9 mommas experience postpartum depression or “baby blues.” Symptoms may include anxiety or panic attacks, intense irritability, unexplained and excessive crying, severe mood swings, and feelings of worthlessness. If you experience symptoms of postpartum depression, talk with your doctor right away. Mental health professionals are also available to help.
Anxiety: You may experience increased anxiety postpartum. This can include fear of not being a good momma, your baby not developing normally, or (if you’re breastfeeding) if they’re getting enough milk. The transition to parenthood can be worrisome. But we’re rooting for you momma!
Overwhelming Love: You’ll fall in love with your newborn as they are this amazing, little tiny version of you that you birthed and has become the center of your world. This overwhelming feeling of love is normal.
Distanced: On the other hand, if you don’t bond with the new member of your family immediately, it is okay. Many mommas report experiencing shame or guilt from not being able to connect right away with their newborn. However, not bonding immediately is also normal and as time goes on, you’ll begin to bond with your newborn baby.
Managing Your Postpartum Emotions
Managing your emotions might be the last thing on your mind right now. But it’s important to take time for yourself and take care of your wellbeing also. Here are some ways you can help manage your postpartum emotions:
- Get rest whenever you can.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Talk with other moms and use them as a support system.
- Get out of the house for some fresh air.
8 Things You Need on Your Postpartum Recovery Essentials List
1. Lactation Tea
Paranoid about your milk making? You’re not alone. Many mommas worry whether their baby is getting enough milk. Try Healthy Mamas great tasting Make the Milk! tea. Blended with anise, fennel seed, and fenugreek, our tea’s ingredients have been used by generations of women to naturally promote and support lactation.
2. Nipple Spray
Our Soothe those Suckers! soothing nipple spray provides revolutionary and advanced nipple care for a safe and natural way to relieve sore nipples. To be real – breastfeeding is not always a walk in the park. Many mamas experience pain and soreness from nursing nipples experienced during breastfeeding. An easy-to-use spray eliminates the need to use your fingers and the mess that balms, butters or creams create. It also reduces the risk of mastitis.
3. Nursing Bras
If you’re breastfeeding your newborn, nursing bras are a Godsend. They make breastfeeding so much more convenient, since they feature bra cups that fold down in contrast to regular bras that you would have to take on and off. Definitely a must-have!
4. Postnatal Vitamins
Our Be Well Rounded!® postnatal multivitamin + DHA optimizes the unique nutrition needed for you and baby during breastfeeding. This special formula provides essential vitamins and minerals that are proven to be important for nursing mamas. It also contains higher amounts of Vitamin D, which may help reduce postpartum symptoms as well as Lutein and 200 mg purified DHA for baby’s eye and brain health.
5. Heartburn Relief
The only burn you should feel is from doing the downward-facing dog! Do you have a five-alarm fire in your chest (aka, heartburn during pregnancy)? Okay, we get it, there’s nothing cute-sie about heartburn during pregnancy. Our OB/GYN recommended Tame the Flame! provides safe relief of heartburn during pregnancy.
6. Ice/Heating Pad
According to Web MD, “Heat boosts the flow of blood and nutrients to an area of the body. Cold slows blood flow, reducing swelling and pain.” You’ll want to have both ice and a heating pad nearby to help with pain and swelling as you recover.
7. Maxi Pads
As we’ve discussed, you’ll likely bleed for a short while after giving birth. That’s why maxi pads are a must during your postpartum recovery period until the bleeding slows.
If you had stitches, tucks will be a gamechanger. Tucks will keep the area soothed, cool, and comfortable.
Of course, every momma is different and experiences different symptoms postpartum. Hopefully this Healthy Mama Brand article helped you understand what you can expect postpartum to help you get prepared. Never be afraid to reach out to your doctor with concerns or questions throughout your pregnancy and postpartum experience.