You might be looking forward to doing things you couldn’t do during pregnancy after giving birth. These could be finally sleeping on your stomach or eating foods you couldn’t during pregnancy. After giving birth, your body will also undergo several changes, so you should focus more on taking care of yourself. Here we will let you know the physical and emotional changes you undergo post-pregnancy and the things you should avoid doing.
What are the Physical Changes that occur after Giving Birth?
After you’ve given birth, you’re now a breastfeeding mom. Hence your breasts might feel sore and larger due to the milk production. Sore nipples can also be painful.
After a few days of your delivery, the first bowel movements occur, which can be painful due to several reasons. These can be sore muscles, sensitive hemorrhoids, and healing episiotomies.
Hemorrhoids are the swelling of blood vessels in the rectum or anus, which are common but not frequently expected.
There is a possibility that the skin between the vagina and the anus, also called the perineum, is cut by your doctor or torn up while giving birth. These are then stitched up, but this can make even normal activities painful, like walking or sitting. During the healing process, even coughing or sneezing could be painful.
Fecal or Urinal Incontinence:
It is difficult to control bowel movements during delivery, and while the muscles are being stretched, you may pass urine accidentally. This is pretty common during delivery.
The internal thermostat can be disturbed due to the body adjusting blood flow levels and new hormones.
These can be heavier than your regular menses and might also consist of blood clots. With time these fade to yellow or whitish colors and gradually stop within several weeks.
The uterus will continue to have contractions till a few days after you have given birth. These are more prominent when you’re breastfeeding your baby or taking medications for heavy bleeding.
Right after birth, the additional weight on your body is as much as the combined weight of your baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid. The water weight would drop a few days after delivery, and your body can only be balanced after the first week of the delivery,
What are the Emotional Changes after Birth?
These can be referred as mood swings since the new moms can feel irritated, sensitive, sad, and anxious. These can start several days after giving birth and are pretty common. There are no specific reasons for these, but they might be due to unexpected delivery or hormonal changes. These usually last for about a week or two.
Postpartum depression is common among new moms. These are more serious and can last longer than the baby blues. These are more evident in women who have a history of depression. One can have anxiety and severe mood swings.
What are the Things that you Should Avoid After Giving Birth?
Now let’s talk about our major concern. You’re a new mom, but every time you think of doing something, you might think, is it okay if I eat this, or is it okay if I do it? We have gathered the important things that you must avoid right after giving birth.
Don’t Ignore the Pain:
It is common to have a painful body right after giving birth, but some of them may not be normal and can indicate disturbance in the body. These are categorized, and you should consult your doctor in extreme pain. The normal pain after birth includes the following:
- Uterus cramping
- Episiotomy pain
- Pain around stitches
- Pain in joints, lower back, and neck
- Breast pain due to swelling
The kind of pain in which you should consult your doctor is as follows:
- Severe headache with visionary disturbance
- Fever above 100.4°F
- Painful urination
- Heavy bleeding for longer periods of time
- Breast pain in a specific area accompanied by inflammation
- Discharge with foul smell
- Pain with swelled legs
- Difficulty in breathing
In such extreme cases, you must consult your doctor.
Neglection of Nutrition:
Although your baby is born healthy, keep up with a healthy diet. A nursing mother requires more nutrition for her body as well as the baby as the nutrients are passed down to the baby through breastfeeding. You can also go for post-natal vitamins to fulfill the body’s needs, but it’s always better to go for natural sources. Your diet should consist of:
- Consumption of fresh fruits and juices and avoiding sugary snacks
- Keep your body properly hydrated
- Have protein-rich foods
- Have whole-grain foods
Over-doing your Body:
You have just given birth, and your muscles are sore. Lifting heavy weights is not ideal for you right now. Even lifting your baby for long durations can be tiresome. Especially if you’re recovering from a C-section, you should avoid lifting anything that is heavy as it can trigger pain in your lower back and leave you uncomfortable.
You should take care and rest during the initial weeks as the constant feeding and baby can leave you with sleepless nights. Overdoing your body can strain your muscles, cause injury, and this can result in being painful.
You should ideally wait about 4 – 6 weeks before indulging in sexual activity.. As your vagina is healing, you should avoid sexual intercourse or even tamps, as it can be painful. Don’t rush yourself into having sex, and wait until your body is ready. Go for a postpartum checkup, make sure everything is going well and you’re healed properly, and then you can indulge in the activities. It is still advised not to rush yourself in.
If you don’t plan on getting pregnant again that too soon after giving birth, you should consult your doctor regarding birth control, as getting pregnant 6-8 weeks after delivery is definitely possible. You can start with birth control as soon as you resume your sexual activity. Some options are as follows:
In some cases, breastfeeding affects the menstrual cycle causing lactational amenorrhea. This means that it ceases ovulation during the nursing period.
You might need social support after the delivery. Many would want to see the new baby, and researchers say that social support helps in reducing stress and anxiety. Also, you get a helping hand and someone to talk to and share your emotions with.
It is also possible that you don’t want to see people at all times of the day; hence you should keep a balance between the two. Have social support, but you shouldn’t necessarily entertain people when you feel too tired or weak. Prioritize yourself and establish a healthy social network.
Postpartum Checkups or when to see the Doctor:
It is important to go for postpartum checkups, which are usually about 4 – 6 weeks after your delivery. You can discuss many things, like when you can you resume having sex, along with an update on your healing process. In case you have other problems like those mentioned in the pains in which you should consult your doctor, you can call them before the due time and let them know of your situation. Other situations in which you should consult your doctor right away are:
- Problems during breastfeeding
- Infection at the incision site or vagina
- Postpartum depression with severe mood swings
- Problems quitting smoking or drugs
Getting used to the new mom life is tough, but you should take precautionary measures to avoid many problems. The most important of these is taking care of yourself. If you keep yourself healthy and happy, you can take better care of your baby. Eat all the nutritional foods, meet up with your friends, and most importantly, take care of yourself physically as well as mentally. In case you notice something unusual you should immediately consult your doctor in regard to the problem.