Congratulations, you’re a Mum! While you are probably euphoric with love for your newborn baby, nothing quite prepares you for how your body feels after childbirth. Here are some post-partum symptoms to be aware of and some things that might make recovery that little bit easier for you.
Postpartum bleeding (Lochia)
This is absolutely to be expected and will be heavy for the first few weeks, after which, it will taper off. For comfort, invest in maternity pads and some big granny pants. You’ll be glad you did! If you’ve had a C-Section, look for high-waisted ones so they don’t irritate your healing wound. For night-time, use a mattress protector on your bed in case of spotting.
You are quite likely to experience bruising and soreness in the perineal area post-birth. Check out My Expert Midwife’s ‘Spritz for Bits’ spray, which contains witch hazel, essential oils and all kinds of good things to help your tender area heal. (It’s a hospital bag ‘must-have’). For added coolness, keep it in the fridge or spray it on our ‘Padsicle’ before applying. Aaaaaaahhh…relief!
Please don’t feel pressured to look ‘insta-ready’ and back to your pre-birth shape in a month. Every Mum is different. While some bounce back quickly, it can take longer for others so give your body all the time it needs. Post-birth shapewear can offer the support your recovering baby body needs and can help your uterus to realign safely. We love these Post Maternity Shaping Leggings from Seraphine, or a belly band can help as your body returns to its normal shape. (Always follow the instructions for these items carefully and only wear as directed.)
Whether you are breastfeeding or not, you will most likely experience engorged breasts around 3-5 days post-partum. Your breasts will feel hard and swollen due to increased blood flow and milk supply. This can be uncomfortable so to help relieve the engorgement, you can express the milk, using a breast pump or manual expression (using your hands). If you are feeding, this will pass quickly, and if not, your breasts will stop producing milk in a few days.
In the days after childbirth, you may experience night sweats as your hormones are still working on returning to normal. This also helps you to lose the fluid you have retained during pregnancy. To keep your mattress dry, use a mattress protector on your bed which can be taken off and washed easily.
A lot of women experience the joy of a thick glossy mane of hair in the 3rd trimester and this is due to those amazing pregnancy hormones. However, 10% of women will experience the loss of this hair post-birth. Try not to panic though, it’s actually just the ‘extra’ hair that’s being shed and your crowning glory should return to normal before long.
This is one of the best things you can do for your post-partum body. Drinking plenty of water will help to reduce constipation, improve elasticity in your skin and is crucial if you are breastfeeding. Keep a bottle to hand and sip on it through the day.
If you are reading this before giving birth, don’t feel overwhelmed. It may seem like a lot to take in but these post-childbirth symptoms pass quickly. In the meantime, rest, be kind to yourself, and accept offers of help in your first weeks of motherhood. You deserve it, Mama.
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