When you’re a first time mom, there are lots of things you want to know! What will labor be like, how will I know I’m in labor, (you’ll probably be able to tell!) what will postpartum recovery be like? As a mom of 2 kids, I want to share what you can expect for your postpartum recovery along with some postpartum recovery tips to help you recover more easily!
Please know I’m not trying to scare you! But I do want you to be prepared for what can happen after you give birth. Being prepared and knowledgeable about what’s happening makes it less scary because you already know what to expect!
What to expect after delivery and postpartum recovery tips
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1. After giving birth, you may feel like your insides are falling out…Every time I stood up or laughed it felt like my vagina was going to fall out of my body! It was the weirdest feeling! I had to walk hunched over everywhere I went because it felt like my insides were going to fall straight outta me.
This can happen because of the trauma your pelvic muscles go through when you have a baby vaginally. I didn’t even push that long and it still happened to me! What you can do to strengthen those muscles is start doing kegel exercises daily after delivery and your pelvic muscles should heal over time.
Thankfully my pelvic area went back to normal and interestingly this did not happen with my second baby. (Maybe because I pushed him out quicker or because my body already knew what was going on??)
2. There’s a lot of blood…I bled for 6 weeks and that’s common! It was pretty heavy initially and then tapered off for the last few weeks. Even women who have C-sections end up bleeding vaginally!
It’s called lochia and it is caused by blood vessels that went to your placenta that are still open. After you deliver your placenta, those blood vessels need to be closed off and your uterus will contract to close them. So the bleeding is normal but the amount you bleed will be different for everyone. (If you’re concerned at all about the amount your bleeding please talk to your healthcare professional!)
Just be prepared (like literally prepared with supplies!) that you may be bleeding for awhile. Also you can’t use tampons until after your first postpartum visit with your healthcare provider (although I have no idea why anyone would even want to stick anything up there right after delivering a baby!) so you’ll want to stock up on pads of various sizes.
Chuck pads are also super helpful! You can put them on your bed, under your sheets so that if you bleed through your pad at night, it won’t get on your mattress.
3. If you had a vaginal delivery, you will be sore. However that soreness can be alleviated with a perineal cold pack! I LOVED these! I especially loved that they doubled as pads. So for the first few days when you really need it, you can have both the cooling sensation that feels so good on your recovering tender area and the absorbency you need.
Side note, you should get some super awesome postpartum undies. They aren’t the cutest to look at but they are great for your postpartum body. They are so comfortable! They fit your postpartum tummy and cover your butt, and there’s still room for the cooling packs and postpartum pads!
4. Peeing wasn’t great…it hurt a bit. I didn’t tear or need stitches, but I’m sure there were little tiny tears that you couldn’t see, but I could feel them when I peed! But I got this awesome perineal squirt bottle and used water to squirt on my nether regions every time I peed. It was great because it made the acidic pee diluted and also washed off some of the blood so I didn’t have to use a roll of tissue paper just to clean myself up afterwards.
You will especially want this if you did tear or need stitches as I’ve heard from friends who’ve had those things happen, that this squirt bottle was a lifesaver!
5. Your boobs may leak a lot. I had to have tons of breast pads because I leaked so much. Especially at night, (I think maybe because of the pressure of laying on my milk filled boobs?) I would wake up in puddles of milk. This was another way the chuck pads helped because I also put them up by my chest so the milk wouldn’t leak onto my mattress.
6. Breastfeeding hurt and didn’t come so naturally. I quickly found out my baby had a lip tie, which caused the pain from nursing. Before kids I had no idea what a lip tie was nor did I know it could affect nursing!
It’s important to note that some pain is normal as your nipples need to adjust to having a baby nurse on them. Nipple cream can help that! It actually saved my nips and probably saved my breastfeeding relationship with my oldest, because it healed and soothed them.
I eventually got a lip tie procedure done on my baby, which allowed her to have the correct latch and the pain went away, (but that’s a story for another day).
7. Your whole body will hurt. I’m not even talking about from your delivery but from taking care of your newborn. And you’ll hurt in really odd places! I felt like I had old lady knees because they hurt so bad from constantly kneeling to change my baby, (I used a portable diaper pad) and probably from carrying my baby all the time. My fingers hurt really bad. Again I think it’s cause of the position I had them in from holding a baby all the time, but I actually thought I had arthritis! My back hurt a lot from hunching when I was trying to figure out nursing positions. Just these random body pains as you are getting used to taking care of a baby! They did however, all end up going away at some point.
8. You will be tired. But you probably already knew that! Your body just went through labor and delivery and now you have to adjust to the demands of a newborn baby. PLEASE let people help! Let your significant other or family members take care of the baby so you can nap. You can also nap when the baby naps, (I did this all the time!).
Don’t worry about the state of your house. Trust me you will have plenty of time to take care of your household chores. If it bothers you that much, ask someone else to do it. You need to rest as much as you can for the sake of your mental and physical health.
My hope is these postpartum expectations will help you understand what can happen to your body after you deliver a baby. Again, knowing what to expect after you deliver can help ease your mind so you don’t think something is wrong. Also now that you’re armed with these postpartum recovery tips you can help your body heal more easily!
*Please note I am not a medical professional. If you have any concerns or questions please ask your healthcare provider.