When you are about to have a baby it’s the only thing on your mind. You think of nothing else. You read tons of information and you dream all day long about what it’s going to be like.
But you are forgetting something important and that’s yourself.
You don’t hear much about what happens in the ” Fourth Trimester ” or your Postpartum recovery period. There’s not a ton of information about what you’ll be going through online and nobody really talks about this too much while you’re pregnant.
It all often comes as a big surprise once the baby arrives and you can’t help but wonder why you didn’t think of preparing yourself better for this time…
Well, I’m a mama of three and I think it’s important to be prepared. I’ve been through it all and if you want to enjoy your special time to the fullest without being in constant pain and discomfort then read on.
I’m going to help you get fully prepared for what happens next. Make sure you read all the way to the bottom of the post, there’s some funny stuff in here 😉
Let’s get to it!
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What Nobody Tells You About Your First Few Weeks Postpartum And How To Prepare For It
Giving Birth To The Placenta Hurts too
So you’ve just had your babe and you know there’s a placenta in there somewhere. Surely that will just pop right out, right? Wrong.
For many women, a nurse will have to push and probe your stomach for a bit to get it to move down. This hurts pretty bad on your tender tummy and then you’ll likely have some more contractions as well. And for some reason, the epidural doesn’t do much for this pain. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because it’s beginning to wear off, but for each of my three pregnancies, I felt the full pain of all that pushing and massage.
The contractions are not as intense as when you’re actually having your baby obviously but more like a dull ache from deep within. It’s really uncomfortable but this too shall soon pass.
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The tummy massage
At this point you wish the nurses would be hands-off, but oh no… They are not done with you yet.
They will need to massage your tummy several times over the next few days and it’s no fun. It causes a good bit of discomfort and you will usually experience cramps afterward.
They do this type of massage because it helps to shrink your uterus. It’s important to let them but it’s very uncomfortable because they go deep with their fingers. Ouch! Sorry ladies, but it’s all part of the experience.
Your Vagina Will Swell Huge
This is no joke. All the trama involved in childbirth really does a number on your lady parts. You’ll be swollen huge like a big opened orchid. Sorry for the detail… but that’s what it looks like.
It does hurt for at least a week or two and it can be intense, especially if you were torn or cut during the birthing process. I recommend reading this post I wrote about how to control this pain completely so that you can enjoy your baby without suffering constantly during those hardest first two weeks.
You may want to sit on an ice pack for a week or two
This has a lot to do with what I was talking about above. Your flower will be very sore and you’ll want to take down the swelling with these special ice packs.
Sitting on a donut pillow is vital for pain control as well. Here’s a great one on Amazon.
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Someone will have to help you go potty
After all this, you’ll have no shame. The first few times you go to the bathroom after giving birth you’ll need assistance.
Especially if you’ve had an epidural. They’ll put you on this standing wheelchair ( or at least they did after my three births ) to get you in the bathroom because you’ll still likely be numb.
It’s hard to walk properly in this condition so they help you in. Once you’ve gone they may come in with a peri bottle and squirt off the blood and residues from your vagina.
Pooping is Difficult
After you’ve had your baby having a bowel movement can be scary, especially the first time. You’re so tender, sore and swollen that it just creates a lot of discomfort.
Stool softeners are highly recommended during this time so that you can go comfortably without causing pain or interfering with healing. Miralax is hands down the best product for this.
Breastfeeding is not nearly as easy as you thought
Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your babe and I am a huge breastfeeding enthusiast.
But there’s this huge misconception about it. Many women assume that it’s as simple as putting their babe to the boob and nature will take its course.
This is just not the case at all. Breastfeeding is hard and getting the latch right is even harder. It takes practice and education and the sad part is, that many hospitals don’t have a lactation consultant on staff to help so many women end up giving up.
You cannot count on someone at the hospital showing you how and if you didn’t get the proper education beforehand then it may spell trouble.
There’s a great online video course called Milkology that’s only $19 that will teach you everything you need to know in about 90 minutes. I highly recommend you take this course. Many women buy it and have great success at breastfeeding.
Don’t take the chance of not being able to breastfeed when it means so much!
Nipple cream is Your Friend
Don’t get caught off guard without the supplies you need after birth or all you’ll be able to think about is the pain you’re having when you should be elated over your little one.
You’ll Still Look Preggers
We all hear the stories about women shrinking to pre-baby size before they leave the hospital but this is actually really rare, even for first-time moms.
In fact, I’m not sure that actually ever happens. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Your tummy will look pregnant for at least the first month and possibly longer. One way to speed the healing up and shrink your tummy faster is to join a postpartum program designed specifically for this purpose.
The Postpartum Cure is a program designed to help get your body back to pre-baby shape as quickly as possible without losing your milk supply ( That can happen if you cut too many calories trying to get back into shape).
This program has diet information and plans, daily exercise programs and so much more. It’s very popular amongst postpartum women who need to get back into shape asap. You can take a look here.
She also has another program called “ The Belly Only Pregnancy ” that helps you keep from getting too big during pregnancy. The quickest way to keep your shape during and after pregnancy is not over gain in the first place and that’s what this program is all about. You can see it here.
You will Have Cramps
The first week after birth you will be really crampy. It will feel a bit like a very bad period.
These cramps are caused by your uterus contracting as I mentioned earlier. It’s just your body trying to get back to normal.
If it gets really bad you can take some Tylenol or use a heating pad.
You Will Bleed A Lot
Just a note: Don’t use tampons postpartum. They raise the risk of infection in your healing womb and can be dangerous during this time.
You’ll Be Hungry As Hell
There’s no hunger like postpartum hunger. Your body just expelled huge amounts of energy, it needs to heal and it needs to make milk.
You will be ravenous, and food Will taste SO GOOD. You will want to eat all the things. And I say go ahead that first week or two.
Then dial it back a bit, especially if you have weight to lose. If that’s the case I recommend taking the program I mentioned above called The Postpartum Cure.
The staff won’t let you sleep or rest!
This is another thing that will happen While you’re in the hospital. They will not leave you alone. You need rest like nobody’s business yet they come in every hour to take your blood pressure and massage your stomach.
Yes, even in the dead of night when your babe just fell asleep and you just closed your eyes. Every. Single. Hour.
While I enjoyed the hospital stay because it gave me time to take it all in and get used to the idea that I had a babe, this drove me crazy. It gets really annoying but there’s nothing you can do to shoo them away so you’ll have to endure like all the mamas before you.
After you have your baby your hormones will spiral out of control and they’ll go crazy ( and you’ll feel crazy ).
One of the many, many side effects of this is that you’ll have a really strong body odor. And it gets really bad, almost skunky. Sorry, mama! A lot of the stuff in this post isn’t great news but it is what it is.
Your Lady parts will also smell strong. It often smells like a wound healing, because well, it is a wound healing. Both inside and out. Even two months later you may have that wound smell coming out.
It can be very alarming but I assure you that it’s normal. Your uterus has a lot of work to do and healing takes time. If it’s really bothering you then mention it to your obgyn when you go for your checkup.
Your Hair Will Fall Out
Your hair falling out in handfuls is all part of the postpartum package. You can thank all those pesky hormones for causing this.
It can be scary but most of the time it’s less then it looks like. Often it grows back just like before.
There will be tears and confusion
I have mentioned your hormones will go crazy right? Right.
There will be moments when it all seems like too much and you just have no clue what to do. It’s all pretty overwhelming. I know as women, we know what it feels like to be hormonal, but after having a baby this feeling can be 500 times stronger.
You should be prepared for this and have plenty of support. Take a deep breath mama, it’s all going to be ok. (( Hugs ))
Having a baby is really exciting but don’t forget to consider what you may go through when the big day arrives. You want to be at your very best and knowing what to expect is definitely half the battle.
As always, I wish you well during your special time!
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