So you’ve read up on what you need before giving birth and what your new baby will need right after birth, but do you know what you can expect — physically and even emotionally right after giving birth?
Our bodies are amazing and it’s built to withstand childbirth. Having said that, you should still take it easy a few days right after pushing your baby out. If you’re a first-time mom and is due to give birth any time soon, here’s a heads up on what you can expect 24-hours postpartum. And while the circumstances of your delivery (natural birth or cesarean birth among other factors) will also play a role in how you might feel after, here are a few general things you should know:
Your belly will still look kind of pregnant and mushy.
The first time I saw my belly after giving birth, I was surprised by how bad it looked. It still looked like it was around 6-months pregnant, it was dark, wrinkly, and saggy. I know it sounds bad but there’s no other way to describe it. But no worries because chances are, it will go back to your pre-pregnancy size and look, *almost. But it’s also best to prepare yourself for that first look.
You will look a bit swollen
The kind of swollen look can be attributed to water retention, which is normal for women who have just given birth. And even if you haven’t experienced it or edema during your pregnancy, you can still have it postpartum.
You will bleed heavily
For the first few days or even weeks at least. This is the reason why maternity pads are available in the market. And even if the heavy bleeding stopped, having menstrual-levels bleeding for the first few weeks postpartum is normal for some women as well.
You will experience abdominal cramps
If bad menstrual cramps are a norm for you pre-pregnancy, then you should know that postpartum abdominal cramps can also get rough. The reason for this is your uterus is contracting back to its normal size after expanding to accommodate the baby. If the pain gets unbearable, it’s ok to ask your OB for pain medication.
Your breasts will feel full
If you thought that your breasts got big during pregnancy, then you’ll think that your breasts are enormous postpartum as they get filled with milk for your baby. You can also expect that they’ll feel tender and a bit painful. So investing in quality and supportive nursing bras and even nipple creams can help.
You will get mood swings
Granted, women are emotional. But nothing beats the feels of a postpartum woman. You might find yourself crying your eyes out over the simplest things (like your husband going back to work after paternity leave) and being ok the next minute. This is normal and the range of emotions you might feel will also depend on your birthing experience.
However, if you feel that you’re bordering on postpartum depression or any postpartum disorder, it’s best to seek your OBs help on how to handle it.
You might feel overwhelmed with your new baby and all the changes in your body and life, but remember to take it easy and to take care of yourself. Your baby’s safety and wellness also depend on your health.