There are so many stories that go around about what life will be like after childbirth.
How you instantly fall in love with your baby or that the hardest part will be sleep deprivation.
If the truth be told, what no one talks about is your body after childbirth.
Let’s just be real here for a minute or two. The postpartum period is not going to be easy. Your body has just gone through a major upheaval and things are happening to it right now that you probably don’t even want to discuss.
LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING…
It’s embarrassing, it’s painful, it’s messy BUT every woman who has gone through childbirth has gone through it.
So let’s just put our big girl pants on and talk about the ugly side of postpartum that no wants to discuss.
When you get pregnant there are so many changes that your body has to go through.
It stretches, changes shape and organs move just to accommodate your baby.
That’s no small feat!
Likewise, when you give birth your body will not be the same again straight away. There are a number of things that are about to happen to you.
If this is you and you are pregnant and about to give birth then you really need to keep on reading!
Having had 4 children myself I’m here to share with you the truth about your body after childbirth.
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If you are in the postpartum period right now just know that there is still hope for you. If you feel helpless, tired and in pain, it’s not too late to do something about it. I’m here for you.
Like I’ve mentioned before I’ve had 4 children all birthed vaginally and I’m still alive and kicking so that proves there is still hope for you too.
Let’s dive straight in and talk about some of the things that are about to happen or are happening to your body right now and what we can do to help the situation.
- Postpartum alopecia: here’s what you need to know
- 12 Things not to do after giving birth
- The truth about your breasts after pregnancy
POSTPARTUM BLEEDING (LOCHIA)
They say that you will bleed for a few days after giving birth but I never knew it would be like this.
You will, in fact, bleed for up to 6 weeks after childbirth. Lochia is no joke! If you think it will be like your menstrual period – WRONG
Postpartum bleeding is like a floodgate that you just can’t put a stop too.
The blood gets everywhere. You will need to make sure you get some really good postpartum pads like these, otherwise, you will bleed through your knickers and your trousers and onto your sofa where everyone can see it.
I kid you not. I wouldn’t like to say it happened to me but it did.
Lochia is foul smelling, I don’t know why but it reminds me of raw expired chicken.
Lochia is essentially a mixture of blood and tissue which is being expelled from the body after birth.
Your body will firstly get rid of the heavy blood flow including clots.
As the days go past the blood should become lighter in color.
The smell will probably still remain until the discharge has all cleared up.
It’s gross and there’s nothing you can do about it.
GRANNY LIKE UNDERWEAR
Grannies underwear will be your new best friend.
If you have just given birth and haven’t already purchased some of these disposable postpartum knickers you really need to get yourself some right now!
They are the best thing ever and the fact that you can just throw them away means that you don’t need to worry about having to continuously do the laundry.
These were an absolute lifesaver for me because I couldn’t manage the laundry very well after having just given birth.
I couldn’t even bend without feeling some type of pain so when I discovered I could just throw these disposable knickers away after I had used them it was just one less thing that I had to deal with.
To be fair no one wants to get blood all over their favorite knickers either! Imagine the scrubbing you would have to do?!!
After giving birth you will definitely need these to help with the heavy blood flow.
Also, a packet of the jumbo sized maternity pads will help prevent you from leaking on anything you go near.
In the few days after having given birth vaginally be prepared to start sitting down as slowly as possible.
Until you give birth you will never fully understand what a privilege it is to just plonk yourself down on a sofa.
It is soooo painful!
These doughnut ring cushions are the real deal in helping you to sit more comfortably.
Once you get one of these bad boys you won’t have to tense your whole body up every time you need to sit down anymore.
You can thank me for that little tip later on!
The changes that happen to your body after childbirth can be quite overwhelming but never was I prepared for sore nipples.
When your breasts begin to fill up with milk they can become engorged which is quite uncomfortable.
As your body adjusts to how much milk baby will be drinking it should begin to settle down.
If you have decided to breastfeed you have to be prepared for the initial pain that comes with it.
I don’t know about you but every time I have seen an image of a mother feeding her newborn baby she is always looking down smiling at her baby.
When I was feeding my newborn I was holding a clenched fist trying not to scream and frighten my baby because of the initial pain.
I was scared each time a feed was due, but I knew that I had to just work through the pain and that it would eventually get easier…and it did.
Within a few days, the pain was gone and I was able to look at my baby with the loving eyes just like the pictures I had seen.
If you are suffering from the initial pain of sore nipples I highly suggest this to help you out with breastfeeding.
This cream will work wonders for you too. You might even be tempted to kick your husband out of bed just so you can sleep next to your cream ( ok so maybe I’m exaggerating a little – its good to laugh sometimes)
If the pain you are getting from breastfeeding is completely unmanageable it could be that your baby is latching on incorrectly.
In that case, I would highly recommend this breastfeeding course as it will help you with the correct positioning for your baby as well as lots of other breastfeeding related things.
You’ll be surprised a few small changes can make all the difference between you quitting breastfeeding and being successful at it.
Another issue that some new moms have is inverted nipples. If you have this problem as I did then this product is exactly what you need.
BACK PAIN AFTER CHILDBIRTH
Back pain is another thing that can happen after birth especially if you were carrying a very heavy baby during pregnancy.
You may have weakened abdominal muscles or your posture may have changed causing you to feel pain after birth.
A lot of women swear by a postpartum girdle, like this one.
I have tried it in the past but unfortunately, I always got lazy and didn’t see it through.
This was a complete shock to me. I knew all along that childbirth would be painful.
I mean its called “labor” after all but I did not expect that after pushing out a baby that I would be terrified of pushing out a poo too.
It’s quite normal after having given birth that you would then need to go for a poo.
But what if you have just had stitches after a perineal tear?
I mean even if you haven’t had stitches it still feels terrifying but even more so when you’re frightened of rupturing your stitches!
I kid you not with my first-born I sat on that toilet for a full 20 minutes trying to poop but not poop. If that even makes sense.
It was the longest, most confusing 20 minutes of my life.
Did someone say more contractions?
Yes, that’s right, there are more contractions to come after the baby is out.
These are not really contractions though they are actually the cramping pains of your uterus shrinking back down to size.
Although it can be uncomfortable its nothing like the pain of childbirth and it should disappear after a few days.
If the pain doesn’t seem to subside after a few days then you may want to get it checked out by a healthcare professional.
Oh, the sweats!
I didn’t understand that this was normal when it first happened.
I genuinely thought the hospital was just really hot.
I was wrong.
It turns out that it’s actually your hormones trying to restore balance by getting rid of the excess fluids from your body after childbirth.
DO NOT BE ALARMED!
FEELINGS OF STRESS AND MAYBE SADNESS
So far we’ve had a little fun and made light of a few of the things that happen to your body after childbirth.
But there are also some more serious issues to consider.
Some women can suffer from postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression can be quiet a serious issue if it is not dealt with correctly.
If you are suffering from this, you need to see a specialist to help you work through your feelings as they will not necessarily subside on their own.
Some of the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression are:
- Feeling down
- Extreme sadness
- Loss of appetite
- Overly worrying about your baby
- Being unable to get out of bed
- Not wanting to see friends or family.
This list is not exhaustive of all the symptoms.
The belly, what can I say about the belly?
After you have just given birth the stomach area feels the most strange of all.
It’s normal for it to feel empty and saggy until things begin to tighten up again.
You won’t be able to get into those skinny jeans yet so just give yourself a bit of time.
You may even have stretch marks but they should fade over time.
If you want to know more about what to expect after giving birth be sure to have a read of “how to survive the fourth trimester”.
The changes that happen to your body after childbirth are immense and not to be sniffed at.
I just want to reassure you that it is normal, that you are normal and that you are doing great!
You can read more about postpartum recovery here:
- 10 Postpartum complications you need to be aware of
- Postpartum headaches everyday and why you are getting them
- The top 10 best postpartum pads for the first weeks after delivery