We’re often so focused on pregnancy symptoms or miscarriage symptoms, that we often forget about postpartum symptoms. As you may assume, giving birth – in any fashion – can do a number on your body (‘cause you’re a freiken’ warrior). Here’s what you can expect in the days and weeks following your delivery.
- Vaginal discharge: After you give birth, you’ll start to excrete the mucuous membrane that lined your uterus throughout pregnancy. Mixed in will also be a fair amount of blood. This should last for a few weeks, with the discharge starting out heavy and more red, and lightening up as the days go on.
- Contractions: And you thought the “contraction” portion of the program was over. Sorry mama, you’ll continue to feel contractions, for a few days following the birth. They’re not just there to torment you, but rather they’re helping prevent excessive bleeding by compressing blood vessels in your uterus. You may feel them especially hard during breastfeeding (‘cause you’re releasing oxytocin). Try an over-the-counter pain reliever or talk to your healthcare provider. Rest assured, they should only last a few days post-birth.
- Sensitive boobs: Your boobs have basically had a mind of their own throughout your entire pregnancy, so why should anything change now? A few days following birth, they’ll become full with milk and quite firm. Those gigantic dark circles that have replaced your porn-star looking breasts might linger on a bit as well. When you start to feel that feeling of fullness, that’s your body telling you it’s time to feed your baby, or you can always pump the milk out if you’re having trouble latching. A cold washcloth on your boobs between feedings helps too.
- Hair loss and skin changes: Just when you got used to your luscious locks, you may start to experience some shedding following your birth and up to five months postpartum. Because your hormones were elevated during pregnancy, which kept your hair from falling out, as you body’s chemicals make their way back to their pre-pregnancy state, so too will your hair. Skin darkening around your face (ie melasma) or on your nippes will start to slowly fade as well.
- Mood Swings: You’ve been pregnant for basically a year, you’ve just given birth, and you’re swollen, exhausted and wearing a diaper. You may feel a very natural, normal period of the baby blues. If you’re moods are high then low, if you’re crying for no reason, feeling anxious, it’s all totally normal. According to experts, give yourself two weeks of feeling ALL the feels. If your blues last beyond that, please talk to your doctor, friends, family and reach out for help.
- Postpartum Depression: Now known as Postpartum Mood Anxiety Disorder (PMAD), these feelings of depression and anxiety can take many shapes. Your mood might be swinging like crazy, or you have zero appetite and are exhausted all the time. Maybe you’re washing your hands 100 times per day because you don’t want to get the baby sick, or you can’t sleep at night because you’re thinking about all the things. Whatever you’re feeling, know first that it’s TOTALLY NORMAL and affects nearly all postpartum women. Second, please reach out to your friends, family, your doctor and seek help in your community wherever it is. Therapy works, medications work, and we’re for you every step of the way.
- Weight Loss: Following your delivery, you may still look pregnant. Most women do. We’re not going to tell you how much weight you should be losing by when. Rather every woman sheds her baby weight differently and at different times. Immediate weight loss will include the baby, placenta and amniotic fluid. Throughout the weeks and months following delivery, your body will continue to shed excess fluids. Let it do its job, mama, and know that a healthy diet and exercise can help your FEEL great during this time, and can’t hurt any pre-pregnancy weight goals, either.