What to Expect After Giving Birth: The Fourth Trimester
Becoming pregnant and the process of gestation is one of the human body’s most extraordinary feats. After nine months of pregnancy you are probably excited to be finally at home with your little one.
Over the coming weeks and months much of the attention is going to be on your newborn. However, it’s important to look after yourself as well.
Giving birth may have been traumatic to varying degrees. You may have had a vaginal delivery or a caesarean section. You may have had a long labor that really took its toll on you mentally and physically. Maybe you needed stitches if you experienced a vaginal tear.
Whatever labor you might have experienced, it’s sure to have taken a toll on your body. Therefore, it’s going to take time to get back to normality.
The postpartum period is a time for recovery as well as time for bonding with your baby. Doing the basics, such as eating, sleeping and caring for your baby is all you should be concentrating on during this period. Don’t be tempted to overexert yourself, even if you do feel like you’ve fully recovered.
Here’s what you should expect after giving birth:
After giving birth your hormones are going to be all over the place. It will take some time for them to re-adjust. These changes can often make new mothers feel a whole world of different emotions within a very short period of time. They are often referred to as the “baby blues” and it’s a completely normal part of the postpartum period.
When you are feeling sad make sure to maintain good communication with your loved ones and those around you. Often all it takes to feel better is to talk about it.
However, if these feelings are prolonged and you start to feel depressed or hopeless seeking professional medical help is essential as you may have postpartum depression.
Abdominal Pain & Discomfort
For the past nine months your uterus has been stretched to accommodate your growing baby. So as it settles back down to normal size, you probably will experience lower abdomen pain and discomfort. This can sometimes feel worse during breastfeeding. This is because a hormone that causes your uterus to contract is released.
For alleviation some women swear by belly wraps and postpartum girdles. They are wrapped around the abdomen like a belt. Some of the better ones are heated too, which can offer some added relief to your recovering abdomen area.
Vaginal Discharge & Swelling
As you may expect a vaginal delivery can result in a tender and swollen vagina, thankfully there are many possible remedies for a tender vagina and swollen clitoris. There’s also vaginal discharge that is commonly experienced by both those who had a vaginal delivery or a C-section.
It is referred to as lochia and is your body’s natural way of expelling all of the surplus blood and other fluids produced during the pregnancy period. At first this will be quitter heavy and gradually subside over many weeks until you are left with spotting.
Therefore, it’s a smart idea to continue to wear pads during this time, until the discharge halts. Remember to avoid wearing tampons though, as these can lead to irritation of an already tender area and potentially cause infection.
Read More : Recovery Tips For After A Vaginal Birth
Many women require stitches, commonly due to a vaginal or perineum tear (space between your vagina and anus) or a C-section. Therefore, you need to ensure you keep these as clean as possible and care for them to prevent infections and ensure a speedy healing process.
Stitches around the vagina and perineum are typically the kind that absorb over time, so resist the temptation to touch them. The time it takes to heal varies from person to person, but typically takes around 2 weeks. During this time make sure to rinse them with clean water after using the bathroom and avoid wiping. Instead pat them dry.
C-section stitches are more invasive and often more substantial so can take around 3 months to heal entirely. Again, it’s important to keep the wounds clean and monitor for signs of possible infection. This includes things like redness and discharge.
When you first start the process of breastfeeding, it’s common to experience tender breasts and nipples. This is especially the case as your baby gets used to latching on and feeding properly.
This typically subsides, but if it doesn’t you may need to reassess your breastfeeding technique. Don’t be too concerned as practice really does make perfect. Just give it time and if you are still struggling you may want to consider seeking the advice of a lactation consultant.
For the first few days after delivery, constipation is very common. This is frequently caused by the drugs administered during your stay in hospital. For example, many types of pain medication can slow down your bowels and result in constipation.
The best way to deal with this is to be patient and give your body time to get back to normal. You may also find drinking more fluids and fiber also help get things moving again. Stool softeners can also aid the process too.
Will you Lose Weight?
As you might have expected, you will lose a considerable amount of weight immediately after delivery. This includes the combination of your baby, the amniotic fluids and other substances you lose during birth.
However, after this period your weight loss will slow down dramatically. In reality, it can take several months to lose all of your pregnancy weight. Don’t stress, and maintain a healthy diet and try your best to incorporate an exercise regime into your schedule.
The postpartum period is a wonderful time of bonding as a family and experiencing the wonder of motherhood. However, it’s important to recognize that your body has just gone through a rather traumatic event. It needs to be given the necessary time and care to recover.
So take your time. Do not overexert yourself. Remember not to stress as you will get back to normality sooner than you think. If you do have concerns about your health at any point, the best thing to do is to consult a medical professional.
Enter Your Email & Get This FREE Self Care Guide For Mums