There are a number of changes that occur within a body postpartum. During pregnancy, pregnant women experience a plethora of changes to their body. After all their body worked incredibly hard to keep their baby safe and healthy. Once your baby is born, your body changes again. From physical changes to emotional, body discomforts and changes after giving birth are completely normal.
With this being said it is important to attend all of your postpartum appointments, even if you are feeling well. These check ups are to ensure you are recovering well from labour and birth. Here is what happens to your body after you give birth.
Going To The Bathroom
The thought of going to the toilet after giving birth can be a bit frightening due to the soreness. Keeping hydrated and drinking lots of water can help to dilute your urine, which may make it sting less. It is important to let your health care professional know if you are finding it difficult to urinate, you feel very sore or if you notice an unpleasant smell.
You probably won’t be able to pass stool for a few days after giving birth but it is important not to let yourself get constipated. Eating plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains will help to soften your stool. Drinking plenty of water should also help. It is unlikely that you will break or open up any stitches you may have had but holding a pad of clean tissue over your stitches may feel better.
Try not to strain while passing stool and contact your healthcare provider if you have ongoing constipation. A gentle laxative may assist. It is also important to address any incontinence, in the weeks after you give birth, with your healthcare professional.
Bleeding After Birth
Blood loss after birth, which is also known as lochia, can be quite heavy at first and you’ll need sanitary towels with high absorbency. You will need to change these pads regularly and wash your hands well before and after. Tampons should be avoided for at least six weeks, until after your 6 week postnatal check. Tampons increase the risk of infection after giving birth.
Bleeding may become heavier when breastfeeding, due to your womb contracting as you breastfeed. This may also cause cramps similar to period pains. Bleeding can occur for a few weeks post birth and will gradually turn a brownish colour and decrease until it eventually stops. If you are losing large blood clots it is important to inform your healthcare provider.
Once you give birth your breasts produce a yellowish liquid called colostrum for you baby. A few days after giving birth your breasts may feel tender as they start producing milk to feed your baby. Wearing a soft and supportive bra may assist with the discomfort. If you are experiencing considerable discomfort you can consult your healthcare professional.
Once you have delivered your baby you may notice that your stomach is larger than it was before pregnancy. One of the reasons for this is that your stomach muscles have been stretched. A balanced diet and exercise can help your shape to return. Breastfeeding also helps with this as it makes your womb contract. You can also try out some gentle postpartum and pelvic floor exercises.
If you’ve received stitches after tearing from a vaginal delivery or a caesarean section it is important to bathe them in warm water each day to prevent infection. This can be a bath or shower in plain warm water and then gently patting yourself dry. Pain relief can also help with pain from stitches but it is important to check with your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding. Stitches will usually dissolve over time but sometimes they have to be taken out.
Your postpartum body not only experiences physical side effects but also emotional. Hormones can cause you to become anxious or have nightmares. Anxiety that escalates into panic attacks should be addressed with your healthcare professional. This may be a sign of postpartum depression also known as baby blues.
There are numerous changes that happen to your postpartum body. From caring for your stitches to bleeding and changing breasts and stomach. There is also an emotional toll that birth has on your body, which can lead to anxiety and postpartum depression. These are all normal bodily changes after you give birth, but if you are particularly uncomfortable it is important to consult your healthcare provider.
Dr. Kelvin Larwood is a highly skilled professional Obstetrician who can assist you throughout the whole of your pregnancy and postpartum experience. With ongoing support and care, at a time when there are plenty of changes happening to your life and body. For further information or assistance with your pregnancy and postpartum journey send through an enquiry.