You may be thrilled to look at and bond with your new baby, but you will also feel tired, exhausted, and uncomfortable after delivery. You will have some swelling, pain, vaginal discharge, and anxiety after giving birth. Recovering from giving birth will take some time.
Time For Rest And Recovery
Right after delivery, apart from taking care of your baby, you should focus on taking care of yourself. Taking care of your body is as important as caring for your new baby. The first step in this direction is to take eat and drink well, and take plenty of rest to allow your body to recover. Doing so will help you to regain your energy and strength. If you take care of yourself, you will be able to best care for and enjoy your baby.
Eating, sleeping, nursing, and caring for your baby will take much of your time and energy. You may not have much energy and time to attend to other routine tasks at home. Ask your partner, friends, and family to help with routine activities, such as cleaning, laundry, and preparing meals.
Taking Care Of Body Changes
After the delivery, your doctor will discuss the following things you will experience as your body begins to recover:
- You will have vaginal discharge called lochia. The discharge comprises the tissue and blood that lined your uterus during pregnancy. First, it will be heavy and bright, and then it will gradually become lighter in flow and color.
- You might also have swelling in your legs and feet. You can reduce swelling by keeping your feet elevated when possible.
- You might feel constipated. Try to drink plenty of water and eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Menstrual-like cramping is common, especially if you are breastfeeding. Your breast milk will come in within three to six days after your delivery. Even if you are not breastfeeding, you can have milk leaking from your nipples, and your breasts might feel full, tender, or uncomfortable.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions on how much activity, like climbing stairs or walking, you can do for the next few weeks.
In about six weeks after delivery, your doctor will check your recovery at your postpartum visit. Your doctor will discuss with you about when to resume normal activities, as well as eating and fitness plans to help you return to a healthy weight. Your period could return in six to eight weeks or sooner if you do not breastfeed. If you breastfeed, your period might not resume for many months.
Regaining Pre-pregnancy Weight
After delivery, most women will lose about 10 pounds right away and a little more as body fluid levels decrease. Don’t expect or try to lose additional pregnancy weight right away. A healthy diet with daily exercise will help you shed the pounds. Breastfeeding can also help with postpartum weight loss. Gradual weight loss over several months is the safest way, especially if you are breastfeeding. Nursing mothers can safely lose a moderate amount of weight without affecting their milk supply or their babies’ growth.
If you fail to lose weight or losing weight too slowly, avoid eating foods with added sugars and fats, such as soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, fatty meats, and alcohol. You should focus on healthy, well-balanced food choices that will keep your energy level up and help you get the nutrients you and your baby need for good health. You should talk to your doctor before you start any type of diet or exercise plan.
After delivery you may feel anxious, sad, and depressed for a few days. These feelings are called “baby blues”, which many new mothers experience after giving birth. These feelings are normal and usually go away quickly. But if they persist for more than two weeks, it may be postpartum depression.
The following are the signs of postpartum depression:
- Feelings of restlessness or irritability
- Feelings of sadness, depression, or crying a lot
- Lack of energy
- Having headaches, chest pains, palpitations (fast heart beat with skipping beats of extra beat), numbness, or hyperventilation (fast and shallow breathing)
- Insomnia (not able to sleep), extreme tiredness, or both
- Poor appetite and weight loss
- Overeating and weight gain
- Problems with memory, focusing, or making decisions
- Being overly worried about the baby
- Losing interest in the baby
- Feeling worthless and guilty
- Losing interest or getting no pleasure from activities like sex and socializing
- Thoughts of harming your baby or yourself
Postpartum depression is a treatable disease. Call your doctor immediately and discuss about these feelings if you have them. Some women feel embarrassed or guilty to tell anyone about symptoms of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can affect your ability to take care of your baby and yourself. Infants with mothers with postpartum depression can have delays in learning how to talk. They can have problems with emotional bonding. Your doctor can treat and help you feel better and get back to enjoying your new baby.