40 Weeks Pregnant

Changes in Your Body After the Birth of Your Baby

Everything you have read up to this point is all about what to expect before the baby -- not what to be ready for after. Now that your baby has arrived, you are probably on cloud nine! Happy that delivery is over, happy to have your bundle of joy in your arms and completely and utterly exhausted! There are a few unexpected events that you may experience after your baby arrives. These "unexpected events" may include:
 
Bleeding
This bleeding after delivery is not your period -- it is actually called lochia. Lochia is vaginal discharge produced as your uterus heals where the placenta attached inside. It can last for up to 6 weeks following the birth of your baby. Do not use tampons -- sanitary napkins will have to work for now.
 
Hemorrhoids
You may have made it all the way through your pregnancy, thrilled that you escaped the dreaded hemorrhoids only to find out they have shown their ugly head! It is quite normal to get hemorrhoids during delivery -- the pressure of your baby going through the birth canal along with all of your pushing efforts. It is helpful to soak in a warm bath with antibacterial soap -- check with your healthcare provider before doing so, but it should make them go away within a couple of days.
 
Engorged Breasts
You thought your chest was large toward the end of pregnancy -- well, you will be in for a shocker! A few days after your baby is born, your real milk "comes in" -- your breasts will at least double in size (your pregnancy size), be rock solid and hurt. Engorgement happens whether or not you choose to breastfeed. Following are a few tips to help alleviate this pain:
 
  • A warm shower will get the milk flowing
  • Expressing some of the milk, so that your baby can try to latch on (more than likely, it will be difficult to latch on if your breast are completely engorged)
  • Ice packs (bags of frozen peas work well -- they mold to your breasts) in between feeding.
     
Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is not abnormal. There are varying degrees of postpartum depression. There are many additional hormones in your body at this time. Some women experience mild "baby blues" involving:
 
  • Crying
  • Exhaustion
  • Tension
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia.
     
Other women experience more anger, fear, or anxiety. Again, there are varying levels and degrees of postpartum depression. If you ever feel out of control or that you just can't get out of it, talk to your spouse, healthcare provider, or a friend -- they will gladly help you. This is supposed to be a fun time for you to get to know your baby.
 
(Click Postpartum Depression for more information.)
 
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