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Your body postpartum. No one really talks openly about the nitty gritty embarrassing things that happen to your body after you deliver your baby.
There’s a lot on what happens to your baby, and how to care for your baby.
But not much on how to care for YOUR BODY postpartum.
In all fairness, it’s not a subject for the faint-hearted. But then again, neither is child labor.
But, the fact that you’ve clicked on this post, tells me that you either want to hear and learn how to better care for your body once your baby is born.
Or you just so curious to know happen to all the lady bits after you give birth – and to see which part will gross you out first. Whatever the reason is, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I’m just kidding, don’t chicken out.
It’s well worth knowing all these things. At least you will be well equipped with information that will help you, should you need it!
Caring for your body properly postpartum is incredibly beneficial as it speeds up recovery time – and that’s what you want!
SO, before I go dive right into it, I want to warn you again,
Do not read this post if you’ve just had your lunch or have a weak stomach!
Nothing can ever prepare you for the childbirth experience. You can hear about or read about a thousand birth stories and each one different. Yours too will be different.
This post is not intended to scare you in any way. The sole purpose is to educate you.
And before you completely freak out, Let me reassure you, things get better, go back to somewhat ‘normal’.
The thing that I cover in this post are things that I experienced, and saw other mothers experience (yes, I worked in a maternity ward for a bit).
My point is, everyone’s delivery story IS DIFFERENT. You may not experience all if any of what I mention. Or you may experience them in a completely different way.
As I am not a qualified medical doctor, use this post as a guideline and use your own judgement, as well as advice from the medical professionals!
OK, So here are the ways in which you will need to be mindful of when caring for your body.
Who knew your body could bleed so much (and still be alive) – Seriously!
You will experience bleeding (Lochia) after childbirth. A lot.
The bleeding that occurs immediately after giving birth will be heavy. Really Heavy.
Its common to pas some clots too, which you may notice on your maternity pads.
You also need running water to really clean yourself down below. Rather than still water.
I recommend having a first shower rather than a bath. You might feel a little light-headed. If so, sit in the bath and run a shower (hopefully you’ll have a detachable shower head)
The reason I say this is because the bleeding doesn’t stop when you’re in the bath.
For your comfort and hygiene, invest in some good quality maternity pads – you know the ones that don’t turn in your pants when you walk!
Speaking of pants, you will also need some disposable undies AND some comfortable leakproof multipack undies with lots of material to give you that all-around support. You know the ones I mean right (think Bridget Jones), yeah, those ones!
You can save your frilly little numbers for later :).
Get undies that are a size up. Your hips will be wider after pushing and you will be stuffing them with a huge Maternity pad.
While you’re at it, make sure you grab some Disposable underpads. This is an inexpensive way to save your bed lined and give your washing machine a break!
You can place these under you at night (or even during the day) to try at catch the overspill. These are also great for when you’re home.
Mke sure you change your pad regularly and keep your down below as clean and as dry as possible. This is important to avoid any infection.
After a few days, the bleeding will become lighter and the blood will look brighter. Eventually turn into a yellow kind of colour (a little like your period cycle – only on a heavier scale)
RELATED POST: Your Body 48 Hours Postpartum
THE SORE DOWN BELOW!
As expected, you’re going to be rather sore down there after vaginal birth or even C-section delivery.
Sitting, sleeping and walking will be a little more difficult than usual.
Most especially if you have stitches in place from an episiotomy or develop haemorrhoids.
For comfort, use a Donut cushion to ease the pressure off when you’re sitting. And to release pressure while you sleep, continue to use your pregnancy pillow.
Take your time and care when moving from one position to the next.
Although tearing during delivery is especially common with first moms, you may be lucky enough not to experience.
That said, lack of an episiotomy does not make you exempt from pain, and one thing that will help relieve the pain and speed up your recovery is taking a Sitz Bath.
I recommend waiting a couple of days after delivery to take your sitz bath in the bathtub. However, in the meantime, you can use the Sitz bath using an over the toilet sitz bath.
Here’s an in-depth post on how to take an effective Sitz Bath.
The Earth Mama Angel Bottom Spray is amazing at keeping you feeling fresh and clean in between your Sitz Baths!
Tip: If you’ve been prescribed painkillers to help you manage the pain, make sure you take them before you start getting sore. But do not take more than the prescribed dose!
The pain discomfort should ease after a couple of weeks and you can obviously decrease the use of painkillers accordingly.
GOING TO THE TOILET AFTER DELIVERY
It’s not uncommon for new mommies to develop a fear of going to the toilet especially when they have stitches in place, because, yes, unfortunately, moving your bowel and peeing after giving birth is painful – I’m sorry.
But don’t be scared.
Help yourself by drinking PLENTY of water (yes, you will be visiting the loo a little more frequently). But the water will dilute your urine and prevent or at least lessen the sting each time you pee.
If you developed haemorrhoids or an episiotomy from the delivery, your midwife will most likely prescribe some stool softener to avoid constipation and help with your bowel movement. Take them!
Toilet tissue, at this point, will be your enemy. Don’t fret though. You won’t want to use it anyway.
Remember to pat dry well before you put on your clean maternity pad and undies, you will be far too sore to rub-dry anyway!
This method is a great alternative to a Sitz Bath. Especially when you’re pressed for time.
You will continue to experience what feels like contractions or afterpains. This is your uterus contracting back into place.
The pain resembles menstrual cramps and can be quite painful. You can pain under control with painkillers and apply pressure on your uterus. A postpartum Girdle will not only help relieve the discomfort, it will also help your uterus ‘shrink’ to its pre-pregnancy size (helping with that waist snatching and shaping).
Here’s one you can use if you’ve had a C-section delivery.
Another thing that helps with these contractions is giving your abdomen a massage when you’re under a shower or when having your Sitz Bath.
The warm water and massages relieved my contractions and soothed the pain and the massage will encourage all the ‘blood and clots’ to move down and out.
Contact your health visitor is you develop a fever of 38 or when your abdomen becomes sore to the touch.
SORE BOOBS AND BREASTFEEDING DIFFICULTIES
As the milk starts to come in, your breasts will start to fill full, tender and painful to touch.
This pain might discourage you to even touch them (or anyone else for that matter)
But massage your breasts to encourage blood circulation that will help open and widen your blood vessels and milk ducts.
This will encourage milk flow and avoid blocked milk ducts.
If you are already on painkillers for about every part of your body, then take them as normal and they should help with pain management.
Couple the massaging with warm cloth compressions.
The warmth will relieve the pain and also ease the blood vessels.
Breastfeeding in the first couple of days might also be challenging as your nipples will become sore. Use Nipple shields to protect your nipple from cracking and becoming sore.
Although, this may be discouraged because it can cause nipple confusion in newborn babies.
So, instead, you might prefer to use Nipple Cream before and after feeds.
What I can say is, read the situation and do what you feel is best for both you and the baby.
The only thing I would advise is that be vigilant in checking your breasts for any blocked ducts.
If left untreated, these can be very very painful and may cause mastitis.
Seek immediate medical advice if you start to feel unwell or develop a fever of 38C or more.
Easier said than done. Eat a healthy well-balanced diet. You are going to need all the nutrients you can get for you and the baby.
You will need a lot of energy for the night feeds.Eating healthy food will speed up your healing after delivery.
Fuel yourself with foods high in protein and carbs. As these will help with energy levels and keep you fuller for longer.
Do not forget your fruit and vegetables to help with the digestive system and avoid postpartum constipation!
So, there you have it!
Hope I didn’t scare you too much. If I did, I do apologise. Just remember, every pregnancy is different.
Always seek medical advice when you’re unsure about something.
Didn’t mind this post? Feel free to check out the other related post too.
I would love to hear from you and what you think. Whats making you nervous about labor and delivery?
Leave your comments in the section below. I love hearing from you!
- How to Effectively Take a Postpartum Sitz Bath
- Your Body 48 Hours Postpartum
- 8 Ways to Prevent Tearing During Childbirth