Every woman has a different experience after (and during!) pregnancy. Once Baby arrives, it’s time to be extra patient with yourself.
Take it slow, Momma. Your body spent nine months growing a whole, new human being! That’s amazing!
Now your post-baby body needs some time to heal, recover, and get used to no longer carrying a baby in your womb.
Your body is going to change, drastically. Here are a few normal and natural things that could happen to your body after pregnancy.
Pain And Cramps
If you experienced a vaginal birth, you could have pain and cramping for up to two weeks afterward. Your uterus is busy shrinking down to its pre-pregnancy size. During this period, you may feel a lot of pressure as well. It may feel like you are having your period, especially if you’re nursing.
Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, the “love hormone,” which stimulates your uterus to contract. It’s totally normal and quite healthy. In fact, it’s a sign of the wisdom and brilliance of your body. Your body expects to nurse once Baby’s born, so the act of nursing helps your uterus return to its pre-baby size.
After a cesarean, the abdominal pain usually lasts ten days. If your pain seems to be unusually intense or lasting longer than you feel it should, it may be time to speak with your doctor.
You will likely bleed for a while after giving birth as your body closes off the blood vessels that once attached your placenta to your uterus.
“When the placenta separates from the uterus, there are open blood vessels in the area where it was attached, and they begin to bleed into the uterus. After the placenta is delivered, the uterus continues to contract, which closes off those blood vessels, dramatically reducing the bleeding.” // BabyCenter.com
Again, this is the wisdom of your body at work. It’s healing itself on its own with no instruction or direction from you.
All you need to do is rest, Momma!
Let your body do what it does while you spend time in bed bonding with Baby.
Bowel Challenges & Soreness
Your first bowel movement after a vaginal birth will be challenging. Your magical womanly parts are all sore (and possibly a bit swollen) from the stretching and pressure during labor and delivery.
Forget wiping! You’ll be using a peri bottle instead.
Warm water will do. Even better would be some herb-infused water to facilitate healing and offer pain relief. This you can get from your midwife or doula; probably not your doctor.
If you’re not working with a doula or midwife, Wellness Mama has an excellent recipe for a Postpartum Soothing Spray here.
“It’s designed to help with pain, swelling, healing, and toning. Perfect for that post-baby-‘area’.” // WellnessMama.com
Your bladder experienced A LOT of pressure from pregnancy, labor, and delivery.Giving birth strained the muscles down there. Your enlarged uterus could still be compressing the bladder, too.
Simply laughing or sneezing could cause urine leakage postpartum.
You do not want to be somewhere without a bathroom during your postpartum period. Those kegel exercises have, hopefully, helped. But until you regain control, just keep wearing those pads, continue your kegels, and drink plenty of liquids while avoiding caffeine.
Breast Soreness & Engorgement
A few days after giving birth, your breasts will likely get larger and heavier from milk production. For some women, this causes soreness or even engorgement.
“Some of the fullness is due to extra blood and lymph fluids in the breast tissue. This fullness usually eases within the first two to three weeks after delivery and your breasts should feel softer, even when your milk supply is plentiful.” // BabyCenter.com
To prevent engorgement, nurse your baby frequently and thoroughly as soon as possible (preferably within one hour after they’re born!). Also, don’t introduce a bottle or pacifier unless medically necessary or you’re going back to work.
La Leche League has answers to all your breastfeeding questions here!
Your stretched stomach is not meant to bounce back immediately. Your body has more important work to do, like producing milk (to feed your baby!) and closing off blood vessels while contracting your uterus (so you don’t hemorrhage!). You may feel less than desirable in your post-baby body, but don’t let it get you down.
Your body just grew a human being! It should be celebrated and cherished now matter how it looks.
Spend your postpartum time enjoying your baby – they won’t stay a baby for long!
Yep, postpartum hair loss is a thing. Heightened levels of estrogen during pregnancy meant that your hair was probably falling out less during pregnancy, resulting in more and thicker hair. When estrogen levels decrease after birth, you begin shedding more again. It may take a little bit for everything to balance back out after pregnancy.
My Postpartum Body | 5 THINGS NO ONE TOLD ME!