In the months leading up to having a baby, it’s normal to focus on the big day itself. There’s so much to prepare for with the birthing process, from health management to family arrangements and everything in between.
While the day your baby is born is a milestone you’ll remember for years to come, it’s also the beginning of a whole new world – both for the baby and for you as parents. The six weeks right after pregnancy, also called the postpartum recovery period, are vital for the entire family.
So what things should you expect after you’re done expecting? Here are a few.
Decreased Sex Drive
It’s perfectly normal for you as a mother to have a lowered sex drive for up to a year or even longer after delivering a baby. Not only are you tired and focusing on other important things, but pregnancy changes your estrogen levels too. Mothers should not be discouraged, as your libido will eventually improve—it just takes time.
Pain and Similar Symptoms
The postpartum recovery period will probably come with pain or discomfort in certain areas of your body, though how long symptoms lasts and how painful different areas are vary between women. A few of the key areas you may experience pain or other discomfort in include:
- • Pelvic pain: Issues like vaginal bleeding, cramps, numbness, difficulty with urination and general pain can be present. These are all normal, and should start to taper off as the weeks go by. Items like feminine napkins and painkillers can be effective for some of these problems.
- • Constipation
- • Hemorrhoids: From pushing during labor
- • Back aches
Exhaustion is normal for a mother after giving birth, and sometimes this fatigue can linger on for several weeks.
Not only is your body recovering from a major event, but you’re also taking on new responsibilities with your baby – including waking up during the night to keep with his or her schedule.The best solution is to simplify and accept the situation. You know you’ll be tired, so be mindful when making plans and returning to full-time work. Lean on your partner and other family and friends for support, and be honest with yourself about activities you can and can’t handle.
Changes in Breasts
There are a few specific things to be aware of with the breasts after pregnancy, all of which are totally normal and shouldn’t come as a major alarm:
- • Size: Your breasts grow during and just after pregnancy for breastfeeding, but you might lose a cup size or so after breastfeeding has ended.
- • Discomfort: Because of changing hormones, and because your baby will be using them to feed early in life, your breasts may ache. You can use massage and heat or ice packs to help with pain, and many women find that a specific bra made for nursing helps with pain.
- • Sore or cracked nipples: From breastfeeding
Size and Weight
It usually takes at least six weeks for your stomach to lose all its baby fat and get back to normal size, and in many cases, it’s can take longer. This is totally fine and normal! Every woman is different, and every body rebounds differently from pregnancy.
Many women also see a change in their foot size during pregnancy. Occasionally, women keep this shoe size even after the baby arrives.
Mood swings are common and natural for women who have just had a baby. This is a result of a massive life event combined with new responsibilities, all mixed in with hormones pulling you in every direction. Postpartum depression usually starts within a few days of a baby’s arrival, though it can be later than this in some cases.
Postpartum depression usually lasts for a few weeks in women who have it (roughly one in seven mothers) – if it persists, it could be time to see a doctor. Do your best to focus on all the positives you can, and lean on your partner and other family and friends to help get you through the toughest parts. They’re there to help you as a mother and make sure your life with your baby gets off to a great start.
Obstetricians/gynecologists at Revere Health OB/GYN provide a full range of healthcare services to women throughout all stages of their lives including; puberty, child-bearing years, menopause.
- “Postpartum Symptoms & Solutions to Get You Through.” What To Expect. http://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/postpartum-symptoms.aspx
- “6 Post-Pregnancy Body Changes You Didn’t Expect.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/features/post-pregnancy-body-changes#1