Did you just hear the news that you’re going to have a baby? Maybe you only have a couple weeks left until your due date?
Either way, you may be counting down the days until you can finally achieve the “no longer pregnant” status.
If you’re under the impression that all the symptoms and body changes are going to come to a sudden end when your pregnancy comes to an end … you are mistaken. In fact, you’ll have to come to terms with your new role of being a mother which comes with its own changes.
Your body is going to face significant changes even weeks and months after you give birth to your baby. This period after you deliver your baby is called the postpartum period. During this time, your body will be healing and also gaining back strength.
Many women think not being pregnant will bring their lives and bodies back to how they were before they got pregnant - However, this is not the case. It’s best to know what to expect so that you are better prepared for the challenges that may come your way postpartum.
What Are Some Postpartum Symptoms?
Just like during pregnancy, women experience different symptoms after their baby’s birth. Some problems are more severe than others, but nevertheless, they do exist for many.
Some common symptoms include:
Because your skin stretches during your pregnancy, you may have the appearance of stretch marks on your belly, highs, hips, and bottom. In most cases, they fade over time, but sometimes they tend to stay on your body for longer.
To cope: Use creams and lotions on your skin that are proven to help with postpartum stretch marks. They may not be completely effective in making them go away, but they will reduce the itching that comes from them.
Problems with breasts -- swelling, infection and clogged ducts:
Your breasts may begin to swell after giving birth as they fill with milk. The discomfort tends to go away once you start breastfeeding on a regular basis. It would take longer if you’re not breastfeeding, since it takes a couple days for your breasts to stop making milk.
To cope: If you are breastfeeding, make sure you don’t miss any feedings. You can also take a warm shower to help with your milk flow.
Challenge of getting your body back in shape:
Of course, you’ll be done eating for two humans after you’ve given birth to your baby. It’s very common for women to put on weight during and after their pregnancy and it may be overwhelming for you to get back to how you once were.
To cope: Try to eat healthy foods and drink lots of water. Also be sure to stay active by exercising that will keep your physical and mental health in check!
Fatigue and feeling tired:
It’s a no-brainer that you’re going to feel a little bit exhausted after pushing a mini human out into the world! You may have lost blood during labor which can make your body very tired. That, combined with your baby keeping you up all night will be the cause of experiencing fatigue.
To cope: Stay hydrated throughout the day to help boost your energy and make you feel more awake. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a power nap during the day so that you can wake up re-energized and ready to go! Following a balanced diet will also help regulate your iron levels.
Postpartum depression is a common complication that some women experience after giving birth. This may spring up feelings of sadness, anxiety, stress and tiredness for a short or long period of time. These feelings may be difficult to navigate and can get in the way of taking care of yourself and your baby.
To cope: Try to focus on self-care and taking care of yourself during this time, whether it be getting as much sleep as you can or getting out of the house to do something for you. Reach out to your friends and family members for help and tell them exactly what they can do for you.
- Bleeding after labor
- Hair loss
- Urinary or fecal incontinence
- Excessive sweating
- Discomfort and pain during sex
The Big Picture
Remember not to be too hard on yourself if you feel any of these postpartum symptoms -- it’s completely normal (and common) for women to experience these challenges after having a baby.
Be aware of any unusual changes to your body or symptoms that may be harmful. Be sure to call your doctor if you need help or professional advice on what you’re experiencing.