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Manage Postpartum Expectations

Understanding postpartum is important because it will help you understand what you'll be going through and prepare you mentally for all the uncertainties that you'll face.

  • Published on: 30 Mar 2021
  • 5 min read
Manage Postpartum Expectations

Many new moms are not ready for what usually comes after giving birth. If you're an expecting mother, this article will help you understand what you should expect postpartum and help you manage it.

Why is understanding postpartum important? Because it will help you understand what you'll be going through and prepare you mentally for all the uncertainties that you'll face.

What is Postpartum Period?

Postpartum period is the first 6 weeks right after giving birth to a baby. We know it's a wonderful and happy time for the parents. But it is also an important period for the mother to heal & adjust to a new normal. During this initial period, the mother will go through many issues but will also bond strongly with their babies and will have post-delivery checkups.

What To Expect Postpartum?

couple with a newborn baby

Giving birth, no matter which way, puts the mother into intense physical stress. Therefore, the first 6 weeks postpartum are essential to take proper rest & to recover.

Some mothers sail through the whole pregnancy period like it was nothing. However, the body undergoes maximum stretching & stress and therefore requires proper care to regroup everything.

As a new mother, you should always remember that every woman is different, has a different recovery rate with varied postpartum symptoms. Postpartum care is crucial to fully recover.

Postpartum Symptoms & Recovery Time

The bright side of postpartum symptoms is that they start healing within a week. However, some other symptoms, such as sore nipples, perineal pain, and backaches will continue for weeks. There are other symptoms such as leaky breasts and backaches that may stick with the mother until the baby is a little older.

In the latter section, "Postpartum Body Changes Are Reversible", we have discussed some more postpartum symptoms that you should expect.

Delivery (Natural & C-Section) Recovery Time

Natural Birth

If you underwent natural birth-giving (vaginal), then it may take around three weeks for you to recover from the soreness and perineum. However, if your perineum got torn up while giving birth then it can take around 6 weeks to recover.

Are you wondering if your vagina will ever go back to the way it was before giving birth? Frankly, no. However, it will be almost similar to your non-pregnant state.

Surgical Birth (C-Section)

Many deliveries are done through C-section nowadays. If you undergo the same, then you will be spending nearly the first four days of postpartum period on complete bed rest in the hospital. And it will take around 4-6 weeks for you to recover and feel normal again.

Postpartum Body Changes Are Reversible

mother with baby

Giving birth is a beautiful thing for most women, however, postpartum brings changes to the mother’s body. But the body will start to gradually return to its original, non-pregnant state. Its recovery time majorly depends on whether you had a surgical or natural delivery and if you have any medical conditions.

Here are some changes and issues your body may undergo postpartum:

Afterbirth Pain

Afterbirth pains in your uterus are quite common because the uterus shrinks as the muscle fibers contract. But this pain helps your uterus to go back to its normal size. If you're wondering if these pains will be unbearable, then no. These contractions are quite less painful than the labor contractions you had and are at their peak for up to four days postpartum.

Hair Loss

You may experience heavy hair loss just a few weeks into postpartum; however, take it easy. This is quite common for new moms, and this issue will automatically resolve in a few months.

Skin Changes

You may notice many skin changes during pregnancy, which are caused due to the excess secretion of hormones. Here are some skin issues that will eventually start healing a couple of months into postpartum: blotches on the face, dark lines on the lower abdomen, rashes, etc.

You will also notice the stretch marks disappearing to silvery lines, however, they may not disappear completely.

Weight Loss

You may notice a significant amount of weight loss after birth. And you shouldn’t expect it to return to your pre-pregnancy weight for at least some time.

Many new moms experience weight loss of around 12 pounds right after giving birth. This weight loss journey will continue even further during the postpartum period because the body’s fluid levels start returning to a pre-pregnancy state.

However, consult your physician if you need to lose more weight than this, as he can guide you better. It is not advisable to go through a severe diet or simply starving yourself; new moms should be on a healthy diet to keep their body strong postpartum.

Disturbed Sleeping Pattern Postpartum

The first few days of postpartum is a period of joy; however, it also includes hardship, especially for the mother. Many new moms don't resume working for at least the first 6 weeks.

This gives new mothers the time to adapt to the new normal. Why? Because an infant has to be fed multiple times a day, changed frequently, and cries often. This causes sleepless nights for mothers. All this can be exhausting and frustrating, especially for new moms.

The best way to go about this will be to adapt to your baby's sleep cycle. Stay awake when it's awake and go to bed when it's sleeping. However, this may not always be the case and that's why most women get help from their family, especially in the initial postpartum days.

But don’t worry, you’ll gradually fall into the routine and will be able to go back to work soon.

Postpartum Mood Changes Are Common

postpartum mood changes

Giving birth to a baby is both wonderful and hard. Your body will undergo maximum stress, and your pelvic area will stretch to its maximum. Therefore, after giving birth, your hormone levels will fluctuate. This may sometimes give you baby blues and will put you through drastic mood changes. The good news is that all this is temporary and gradually you will start to feel normal again.


Avery K.

Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Avery K.

When she isn’t looking after the many needs of her 2 kids, Avery enjoys taking walks in the park, enjoying nature, and getting her daily fix of caffeine.

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