5 Things You Need to Know About Postpartum Recovery

A lot happens after a new baby arrives and many of those things might not be expected. Here are 5 things you need to know about postpartum recovery that will help you during your recovery.

You will have afterpains...

During pregnancy your uterus grows to a much bigger size than usual. After the birth of your baby, your uterus must shrink down to its pre-pregnancy size, this causes cramping contractions also known as afterpains. For most first-time mothers, these cramps are mild, but still uncomfortable. With each pregnancy the afterpains become even more intense as your uterus must work harder to effectively cramp down and return to normal. If you are breastfeeding, as soon as your baby latches you will notice cramps and this may make breastfeeding in those first few days very difficult. Your body is going the work it needs to do to prevent postpartum hemorrhage by cramping, but it is still not a pleasant experience. Stay on top of your pain management and massage the uterus often. These cramps will be more intense in the first few days and will slowly subside as you begin to heal.

You will have a placenta wound...

After you deliver your baby you must deliver the placenta, however, there are no bones so it will not take effort on your part to "push" the placenta out. The placenta weights anywhere from 2-5 pounds and is similar in size to a dinner plate, that is a big wound. This explains the post birth lochia (bleeding) and the importance of resting and allowing your body to recover in the first few weeks. Resting allows the placenta wound to heal and "scab" up. Not resting enough, or if your uterus does not cramp down efficiently, could cause hemorrhage up to several weeks postpartum. When you are resting well, typically, bleeding subsides within 4-6 weeks after birth. If you notice an increase in bleeding from one day to the next, that might mean you are doing too much, call your provider to be sure and put your feet up.

You might experience...

You might experience a huge sex drive and desperately waiting till you are in the clear might be difficult. You might experience no desire at all to be intimate. Soon your hormones will regulate and you will start to feel "normal" again. It may take you some time to voice your feelings, but you should freely voice your feelings to your partner so that you are comfortable during these transition months.

You might want...

To have another baby, as soon as possible. It might be the focus of your conversations for the weeks to follow even as you hold your newborn baby. On the other hand, you may have no desire to have another baby for quite some time, that is okay too. Read this great blog about sex after having a baby by Indianapolis Doulas, How to Have Great Sex After Having a Baby.

You will cry and laugh minutes apart...

The hormone shift and adjustment after you have a baby is to blame for the tears that come to you over little things. Once you deliver your placenta, you will experience a drop in hormones after birth. A lot goes on postpartum, you have a new baby, your adjusting to motherhood, your hormones have once again changed, and you are not getting well rested sleep. Baby blues happen, but when these feelings continue, postpartum depression could be something you are dealing with. Placenta Encapsulation can greatly benefit your recovery. Many women see a stabilization in their hormones, a reduction in baby blues, reduced bleeding time and overall quicker recovery.