So, what happens after you have your baby? I am talking about YOU here by the way.
After your baby is born you may feel so full of energy, like you could run a marathon and conquer the world! You could be up making teas, walking as normal feeling light as a feather.
On the other hand, you could feel completely exhausted, not smile for a few hours and just want to sleep.
Both of these and every other feeling in between, (your emotions and energy levels too) are totally normal.
Your tummy after you’ve given birth is quite astonishing! Once your surges have helped you to birth your placenta, your uterus begins to contract back down to a much smaller size. You may be able to see your tummy shaking and wobbling as it contracts back down. It’s really quite amazing. Your tummy may feel doughy and squishy for a while, which is totally normal. It takes on average 6 weeks for your uterus to contract back down to its pre-pregnancy size.
You will have vaginal bleeding after you’ve given birth (lochia), which is a combination of mucous, tissue and blood that your womb sheds as it replaces its lining after you’ve given birth. Have plenty of maternity pads at the ready as you will probably be changing these every 2-3 hours for the first 2 or 3 days post birth. Lighter bleeding usually lasts for around 4-6 weeks.
After birth, your breasts will be ready to give your baby their first milk, colostrum. This is usually golden in colour, thick, concentrated milk. Your baby’s stomach is the size of a cherry at birth, so they will feed little and often. The stimulation from having your baby at your breast so often in those first days encourages the production of your mature milk to be made (usually within 2-3 days.) You may see/feel an increase in your breast size due to the amount of blood supply coming to your breasts and your milk coming in.
Other changes you may experience during the weeks/months after your baby has been born are:
Excessive sweating - Your hormones are helping rid your body of excess fluids that supported your body and baby during pregnancy. These are flushed out of your system through sweating and weeing more frequently.
Hair loss – Hormonal changes during pregnancy mean you lose hair less often when brushing/washing etc. So, after your baby is born when certain hormone levels plummet, your body makes up for lost time and sheds all the hair that it held onto during your pregnancy. It may seem like you are loosing massive clumps in one go, but be reassured this is what you would have lost naturally anyway if you weren’t pregnant, just over time instead. Postpartum hair loss peaks around 4 months after your baby is born.
Extreme hunger and thirst. Breastfeeding mums burn on average 500 calories a day through making milk alone! Stay nourished and hydrated!
Baby blues – These are feelings that can often surprise new parents, especially if they are not feeling a bond with their baby straight away. These feelings are caused by a drop in oestrogen after the birth of your baby and can leave you feeling tearful, irritable, overwhelmed or anxious. The baby blues are experienced by approximately 80% of mothers around 3 days after their babies are born. Symptoms may last for a few days and that is totally normal. If after a few weeks you are feeling increasingly depressed, cannot stop crying, and are feeling overwhelmingly anxious about your new life as a parent, you may have Postnatal Depression, which is nothing to be ashamed of. Talk to your partner, health visitor, family member that you trust and contact your GP. You are not alone and help is available.
Take care of yourself after your baby is here. Have you ever heard the saying “Everyone wants to hold the baby, but who wants to hold the mother?” Mothers NEED to be cared for and nourished too. ♡