The postpartum period a woman endures after giving birth is almost as traumatic as the birth itself. Sorry to say, but it’s true for most women.
There are things that happened after giving birth that I never expected until I was there in the hospital watching them happen. I remember feeling hurt and confused (physically and emotionally) because no matter how much googling I did on labor and childbirth… I wasn’t prepared.
That’s why I’m writing this post… so you’ll be ready. And you won’t have to feel mad at all your other mom friends who didn’t have the heart to tell you.
Let me warn you, if you’re squeamish be prepared now. Childbirth isn’t pretty… it’s actually downright disgusting. I mean, the circle of life part is beautiful but everything else is gross.
Surprising Things That Happen After Giving Birth
I’m simply going to go down the list of what’s mostly likely or could happen to you in the order that it’s most likely to happen.
Every woman’s body is different and I’m sure there have been new moms and will be one’s that don’t experience each of these lovely experiences. Just be ready and know that you’re not alone, even if it feels like you are because no one ever seems to want to talk about them.
You Give Birth a Second Time
If you have a vaginal delivery, after you finally push that giant (no matter their actual size!) baby out of you, you’ll quickly realize that your labor experience isn’t over.
While you’re still all tears and joy holding your new baby on your chest and thanking God it’s all over, you’re told it’s time to deliver the placenta. The
I felt shocked and a little dumb that I didn’t know this and so I had to give a couple very small pushes to help deliver the placenta. Yikes
After it’s delivered the doctor will fully examine it (I recommend you go back to staring at your baby now) to be sure it’s completely
There’s a small chance if the placenta isn’t delivered intact that the mom could be in danger of hemorrhage or infection.
It’s Time for the Stitches
If you’re like me and most women who deliver their babies vaginally, you’ll probably need stitches from tearing your perineum while pushing. Ouch! I know, the thought makes you cringe.
Honestly, I did not earn my batch of courage for not tearing in childbirth and have to say it is certainly not the worst part of giving birth. My first birth experience was pretty traumatic, so this wasn’t even on my radar.
So getting stitched up is par for the course and it’s pretty quick and I don’t remember any pain during the procedure. If you’d like to minimize your chances of tearing read this for some great tips.
And here are the best tips I could find on how to take care of your perineum after birth.
The Bleeding, Oh the Bleeding
I never, ever imagined how much blood would be coming out of my body right away and in the days after giving birth. As a woman who’s experienced a rather heavy period every month for years and years before having kids, I assumed it would be a similar experience.
In fact, I really didn’t even know that I was supposed to be bleeding like the heaviest period I’d ever had in my life! I was shocked when I was given these giant mesh panties because I had no idea what was coming. You’ll love to use these ones instead!
I literally was afraid that I was hemoraiging all the time. I knew this was a possibiliy but wasn’t the case. However, these are the hidden signs you might be hemorraging after birth. This is very serious and a close friend of mine almost died from a postpartum hemmorage.
In a normal postpartum experience, the bleeding is very heavy at first and will begin to taper off each day until you are discharged. The full course of the bleeding will most likely continue up to a few weeks. If your bleeding suddenly becomes much heavier or bright red, seek medical attention right away.
It’s Time for a Very Unpleasant Massage
I think we’d all agree that a relaxing massage after giving birth is a great idea, but that’s sadly not the kind of massage you’ll get! A nurse will, at some point early after giving birth, will come
This is where your nurse will push and press on your uterus to encourage it to contract fully the way it’s supposed to. This helps along the uterus in
It also helps to reduce exessive blood loss too. And as we said, you’re already losing enough! The only drawback here it that you’re contracting… as in contractions. It really doesn’t feel great, but you get the gist.
Your Baby Needs to Eat Too
Whether you decide to do the breast crawl, try to breastfeed your baby right after the nurse lays her on your chest, or wait a bit after her bath. That part is your choice and also based on whether those things are even possible due to complications.
In any case, your baby will need to eat! That means while you’re knee-deep in all this birth-chaos, you have a hungry baby to feed. Breastfeeding your new baby is extremely challenging for most new moms. I know it was for me!
My biggest tip is to ask for help from the resident lactation consultant. They are usually so, so helpful and can get you and your new baby off to a great start with breastfeeding. Do NOT suffer alone if you are having problems.
Also, know that your breastmilk doesn’t come in right away, and what your baby will be drinking following birth is actually colostrum. This is a thinker and extremely nutrient dense milk that your baby needs to help them grow strong and healthy. Your breastmilk will actually come in after a few days postpartum.
The Cramps, Oh the Cramps
Not only are you bleeding like you’re on the biggest period of your life, you will be cramping like it too! It sucks and taking Ibuprofen is safe even if you’re breastfeeding.
Just like with your period, the cramps will ease as the bleeding does so you have to let things run it’s course.
Cuddling that sweet baby honestly does seem to work like a natural pain reliever though! Or at least that’s how I remember it.
It’s Like Potty Training All Over Again
After you give birth you all of a sudden become deathly afraid of both your first pee and first poo after birth for obvious reasons.
As a result of fearing to pee many new moms secretly reduce their water intake. Do NOT do this! It makes your pee more concentrated causing it to sting more. Ouch! It can also encourage constipation which you do not want right now!!
Using a peri-bottle to spray warm water down there as you pee is very, very helpful. This peri-bottle is way better than the one they give you at the hospital!
As for having your first postpartum BM, you’ll need to do it as your ticket to going home. Make sure to take your stool softener as directed by your doctor which sure helps things along.
The key is to reduce your anxiety and take it slow… very slow.
If you’ve developed hemorrhoids from pushing, you can use a topical cream like this one. It helps to reduce the swelling and pain from that area and make it easier for you to go.
Get Ready to Sweat
With your body retaining so much fluid during your entire pregnancy, your body needs to release that fluid somehow. And since you won’t lose it all during childbirth, much of that fluid will come out in n
I remember waking up that first night with a soaking wet gown. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time, but now I know it’s all part of the magic of birth.
It could take up to 8 weeks for your body’s fluid levels to get back to normal.
Belly Be NOT Gone!
Finally, one of the most disappointing and shocking parts to my first birth experience is the fact that when you leave the hospital, you basically still look pregnant! Seriously?
I was very thin my first pregnancy and not a soul told me to be prepared to walk out of the hospital looking like I did when I walked in. This really was heartbreaking for me because I bought a new “going home outfit” for myself which was a pair of size small pink sweatpants and a slim tank top.
I know, I know weird choice but that was almost 13 years ago and I was in my twenties. I literally looked terrible and even split a hole in my pants putting them on! Talk about emotional scarring.
My best advice is to bring clothes that
The postpartum period is very painful, stressful, and exhausting for mothers. Don’t try to go faster than your body will allow. Take it slow and give yourself the grace and time to recover completely.
And make your total focus adjusting to motherhood and loving that precious new gift!