Giving birth is an amazing achievement, and every mum responds in her own way.
You may feel alert and happy - physically, mentally, and emotionally satisfied, or bruised and battered, exhausted, disappointed and even depressed – with even a combination of any of these emotions possible. Or you may experience none of them!
It’s fair to say no matter how many ‘How to’ books you read, YouTube tutorials or advice you’re given, you’ll never really know how it’s going to be for you as an individual until it happens. And for some the physical, emotional and psychological effects can be somewhat surprising, along with all the excitement and joy.
To put your mind at ease, we’ve put together a brief awareness guide of some of the changes you may notice. Remember the important thing is to be kind to yourself and your body – after all, you have both just been through a huge amount together!
Physical Body Changes
Our amazing bodies will get straight to healing and adjusting to not being pregnant in the first weeks after giving birth, and will go through many changes during recovery – this period is called the postpartum period.
Whilst every woman will react differently, common factors include feeling sore for a few days and very tired for several weeks (and this isn’t factoring in your new born baby’s sleeping habits!)
Don’t worry if you don’t feel yourself again for anything from 4 – 6 weeks, and this may be longer if you have had a C-section.
You may also experience some bleeding and after pains in the days following your birth and this is due to your uterus shrinking back to size.
The best advice to manage this recovery is:
We have all been told; having a child is a life changing experience. And the first few weeks after your baby is born can bring a whirlwind of overwhelming excitement, nervousness and tiredness, especially if it is your first child and you are working out the best way to look after each other.
Undoubtedly, you will look at your wondrous little baby and feel happy and content. At the same time, you may feel exhausted from a lack of sleep and your new responsibilities. Balancing finding your own rhythms and routines together with help and support from partner, neighbours, friends and carers can help you to manage these emotions.
Many women get the "baby blues" during the first few days after childbirth. The "baby blues" usually peak around the fourth day and then ease up in less than two weeks and this is entirely understandable.
Medical guidance suggests that if you have the blues for more than a few days, or if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, call your doctor right away as you may have postpartum depression that needs to be treated. Support groups and counselling can help. Sometimes medicine also can help.
Ultimately the first few weeks post birth is going to be a physical and emotional roller coaster. It’s important to listen your mind and body, and seek help and rest when needed.
Just remember not to be too harsh on yourself; give yourself time to adjust to parenthood. The next few weeks and months will be a learning curve with highs and lows. Take each day as it comes and do seek help and support if you feel you need it.
We’d love to hear about your experience post-birth and share your hints and tips as you took your path to recovery. Post your comments on our blog here or our Facebook page.
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Whilst we welcome feedback on this blog, we will not tolerate any abuse or misuse. Please respect the views and feelings of others. The content and advice offered is based on general recommendations and health-care professional suggestions and is designed to be used as a guide and discussion piece. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis or treatment by a qualified health-care / medical professional. If in doubt, always consult your doctor or health-care professional.