8 Concerns New Moms Will Be Dealing With The First Few Days After Giving Birth

2018.05.10 45

A lot happens in the first few days after the birth of your child. There’ll be physical and emotional changes. You’ll produce colostrum to feed your baby before your breast milk starts. You’ll be feeding your baby a lot, and not sleeping much. HappyMom.Life explains what to expect. You might want to think about limiting visitors in the first few days as you may be exhausted and a little overwhelmed.



What Will Be Happening In My Body?


In the week or so after birth, you’ll bleed from your vagina. The blood is called ‘lochia’. It is bright red and heavy, and might have clots. This is normal, but if you pass a clot bigger than a 50 cent piece or notice a bad smell, tell your midwife. You can expect to see lochia for 4 to 6 weeks. Eventually it will become lighter, reddish-brown or pink.

Some women have pains for a few days after birth. After-birth pains can feel like labor pains or mild to moderate period pain. This pain comes from your uterus contracting towards its pre-pregnancy size. They are more common in women who have had other babies than in women who have just had their first baby.

You might notice after-birth pains when you’re breastfeeding. As your baby suckles, your body produces hormones that shrink your uterus. A warm pack on your back or belly may help. You can also ask your doctor or midwife for pain relief.

Drink plenty of fluid and eat plenty of fiber so your bowel motions are soft. Your bowels should open within 3 days after birth. If you have swelling, stitches or varicose veins in your vulva, your first bowel movement may be uncomfortable. Avoid straining.

If you’ve had stitches after tearing or an episiotomy, bathe the area often in clean warm water to help it heal. Have a bath or shower with plain warm water and after bathing, dry yourself carefully. In the first few days, remember to sit down gently and lie on your side rather than on your back. Pelvic floor exercises can also help healing.

Talk to your doctor, midwife or pharmacist if you have severe headaches, blurred vision, leg swelling, heavy vaginal bleeding, severe wound pain or other signs of being unwell such as fever.



Establishing Breastfeeding


You will first breastfeed your baby within an hour of giving birth. At first, you’ll produce small amounts of high quality colostrum to feed your baby. Your baby’s tummy is the size of a marble, so the quantity is not important. By day 3 to 5, you’ll produce breast milk.

Young babies have 8 to 12 feeds every 24 hours. This is normal newborn behavior. Feed your baby whenever they want to feed, and for as long as they want to feed. This is important to make sure your baby gets what they need and for you to establish a good milk supply.



Sleep


Early on, you won’t get a lot of sleep at night. So try to sleep any time your baby is asleep, day or night. Babies tend to sleep for less than 4 hours at a time, so get some sleep when you can.

 


Emotional Changes


You might find that you go up and down a lot, from being elated to feeling very down. That’s normal.

Many women feel teary, irritable or more emotionally sensitive than usual a few days after giving birth. These feelings are known as the baby blues, and they’re normal, too. It’s a physically and emotionally challenging time. Most women feel better a few days after birth with support and understanding from those around them. If you don’t feel better after 2 weeks, please seek help.

 


Visitors


You might find a lot of people want to come to see you, and especially to see your baby. That’s great, but it can be tiring for you both. It’s up to you how many visitors you have, and when. If you’re feeling exhausted, you can always avoid visitors for a while so that you can rest.

 


Vaccinations That Might Be Offered Prior To Going Home


You might also be offered a mumps, measles, rubella vaccination (MMR) before you go home if you were found not to be immune during your pregnancy.

 



Going Home


Your stay in a public hospital or birth center usually lasts from 6 to 24 hours for a normal vaginal birth. You might stay longer after a less straightforward vaginal birth or cesarean section.

Private hospital stays are often longer than stays in public hospitals. Ask your hospital how long you might expect to stay. There are also other differences between public and private care during your pregnancy.

 


When Can I Get Pregnant Again?


You might ovulate before your period returns, so it is possible to become pregnant without having a period between pregnancies. At your 6 week check up, your doctor or midwife can discuss options for contraception. If you want to have sexual intercourse before then, speak to your doctor or midwife about options if you want to prevent another pregnancy.


Photo Credit: Pinterest

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