Woman with c-section scar holding a newbornWoman with c-section scar holding a newborn

9 Postpartum Surprises No One Warns You About Poop, sweat, and a ghost?

By Photo by @melissajeanbabies

Embarking on the postpartum journey is like stepping into a new world where your body doesn’t always feel like your own. Actually, let’s change that to “rarely” feels like your own. Let’s unpack the lesser-known realities (read: totally bizarre) of the post-birth experience with a dash of humor, a touch of honesty, and a sprinkle of medical insight—Babe by HATCH style.

Shake it off.

After the monumental effort of bringing a new life into the world, your body might celebrate with a surprising, shivery dance party of its own. This shake, rattle, and roll episode, as noted by the experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine, is your body’s way of recalibrating after the hormonal whirlwind and fluid shifts of labor. It’s a natural, though somewhat unnerving, response to the physical and emotional stress of childbirth. Just like every part of the birthing process, this too is a sign of your body’s incredible strength and adaptability on this journey into motherhood.

The poop of it all…

Oh, the post-birth bathroom blues. Let’s talk about the nitty-gritty that new moms face but no one really wants to chat about. According to the scholarly folks at the National Institutes of Health, more than 50% of new mamas experience some glamourous postpartum bowel issues. Constipation could become your new, uninvited BFF. And while you’re navigating this, your little one will embark on their own epic ‘poopscapades’. Between your bathroom saga and their diaper adventures, you’ve got a comedy series in the making. Remember, amidst the new routines and diaper duties, take a moment to laugh—it’s just another part of the beautiful mess called motherhood.

There will be blood.

Post-birth bleeding? Totally normal and it’s got a fancy name: lochia. It kicks off with a bright red debut, but don’t worry, it’ll soon mellow out to a pinkish hue.

Now, if you’re going through pads faster than a VIP at a sample sale, say, two an hour for a couple of hours, it’s time to call your doc. This could be postpartum hemorrhage, and it likes to make a dramatic entrance within the first day after delivery, though it can strut in up to 12 weeks later.

The usual suspect? Uterine atony, when your uterus muscles throw in the towel on contracting, which can lead to a blood vessel free-for-all. Sometimes, it’s because the placenta leaves a bit of itself behind, or if there’s a tear somewhere it shouldn’t be, or your blood decides it’s not in the mood to clot. Keep an eye out and stay in touch with your healthcare provider because, in the world of motherhood, it’s always better to be in the know.

Is there a baby in there?

Let’s flip the script: The postpartum silhouette is a badge of honor and a reminder of the journey your body has just undertaken. It’s like your very own personal moon, waxing and waning, as it gradually returns to its familiar terrain. Those in the know, aka medical experts, suggest that the uterus embarks on a six to eight-week journey back to its pre-pregnancy size. So, if you’re wondering why you still look a bit pregnant (or, like, totally pregnant) after delivering your little bundle of joy, rest assured, it’s all part of the body’s natural recalibration process.

Make you sweat.

Imagine stepping into a sauna without leaving your room – welcome to the postpartum hormonal rollercoaster! Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have pinpointed these sweaty escapades to hormonal changes, likening them to the hot flashes experienced during menopause. FUN! It’s nature’s thermostat gone haywire, but fear not, for this too is a temporary phase in the grand ballet of motherhood.

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

As if by magic, your once lush locks may begin a great migration from head to shower drain, thanks to dropping estrogen levels, a phenomenon highlighted by the American Academy of Dermatology. While it may seem like your hair is plotting against you, rest assured that this shedding is but a phase, and equilibrium will return to your hair’s ecosystem in time. And there are tons of products on the market that we know to aid in supporting your regrowth journey.

All’s swell(ing) down there.

Post-delivery, the land down under might feel like it’s been through a marathon you don’t remember signing up for. Cold packs and sitz baths become the unsung heroes of recovery, offering solace and relief as experts recommend. This swelling is a testament to your body’s incredible journey and ability to heal.

Hey, boobies!

Navigating the world of new mamahood and feeling like you’re sporting a pair of overfilled water balloons? If you’ve decided to try breastfeeding, that’s first-week breast engorgement for you, babe! And a sign your body’s milk factory is kicking into high gear. While this swollen start might seem daunting, understanding that it’s your body’s natural ramp-up to feeding your little one can help ease the transition. Remember, this engorgement is just the first step in your breastfeeding journey, signaling the shift from colostrum to a fuller milk supply.

Phantom kicks.

Just when you think the kicks and somersaults have ended with pregnancy, your body throws a postpartum curveball: the “phantom baby kicks.” It’s like your uterus is hosting a ghost of pregnancies past, giving you those nostalgic flutters without the baby on board. These surprising sensations can trick you into thinking you’re still pregnant, making you wonder if your body is practicing for the next round or just reminiscing about the recent past. Either way, it’s a bizarre reminder of the incredible journey your body has been through.

In the tapestry of postpartum experiences, each thread – from sweat beads to hair strands, from swollen paths to engorged hills, and the body’s memory of kicks past – weaves a story of resilience, adaptation, and love. Embrace the ride, lean on your support system, and remember, this chapter, too, will be one to share with laughter and pride in the times to come.