Everyone talks about how motherhood is a blessing and how childbirth can change your life. But little do we talk about what actually happens postpartum that catalyzes that change. So, you’ve pushed the bun out of the oven and steered clear of growing and delivering a baby. But the oven’s still got some housekeeping to do.
All the good things aside, there’s an array of annoying changes that your body is put through, and like it or not, you cannot escape it. While there’s no dearth of information on pregnancy and childbirth, the transforming health and body after the baby’s birth are often overlooked and under-discussed. As you step into your mommy shoes and break your back over the admittedly big issues of caring for the little one, it’s also crucial to do some homework on the post-childbirth days. If you’ve missed out on that, we’ve got you covered:
The Trouble Down Under
After a long break, your body will experience bleeding post childbirth—also called as lochia. Similar to your menstrual bleeding, lochia is the natural discharge of blood that expels the remnant blood and mucus from the uterus. This phase of Lucifer’s waterfall, when the blood flow is bright red and heavy, lasts for up to six weeks postpartum. Get your hands on a huge pack of maternity pads and keep yourself armored with a stockpile of period panties, because you will need a lot of them. For women who have had vaginal deliveries, there could be some swelling and pain in the crotch for a while. If the bleeding is painful and smells foul, a run to the doctor is recommended.
Discoloration of Skin
With the birth of your baby, the mask of pregnancy wears off and you might notice a change in complexion. Some see their complexion getting lighter while others might experience tanned skin for a while. Cases of acne picked up during pregnancy will start dwindling, but a sudden outbreak of rashes and dry skin around the lips and chin is common. Fret not, these changes are temporary.
The estrogen and the progesterone, the hormones that determine the development and regulation of the female reproductive system, are on the low post childbirth. This drop is in turn substituted by the rise in the production of prolactin, the breastmilk-producing hormone. Prolactin is what makes you fully endowed after the birth of your baby. Because of the increased blood flow and milk, your breasts become bigger than their usual size. The engorgement decreases as the baby starts nursing and in a few days the soreness will fade. If you’re not a nursing mother and are facing discomfort, a snug bra, ice packs, and an anti-inflammatory pill should do the trick for you.
Incontinence And Constipation
Losing control over your nature calls is something that most people experience in a post-baby body. This happens due to the numbing of nerves during birth, and thus the urge to pee and take a dump is contained. However, your bowel movements jump back to normal within weeks.
The Changes In Your Vulva
The vulva and the uterus have seen a lot of action in the weeks leading up to labor and childbirth and the action isn’t over yet. Here’s the bad news, ladies – the dreadful contractions don’t end with the pushing out of your baby. You are likely to experience menstrual cramps like pain and contractions for two-three days that helps your uterus shrink back to its pre-baby size.
Varicose Veins And Stretch Marks
Weight gain in pregnancy results in stretch marks, spider veins, and varicose veins — a condition that causes large and twisted veins in the lower body or develops dilated blood vessels near the surface of the skin. These stick around for a while till they eventually tail off.
Life changes drastically postpartum and there’s no way your hormones will remain unchanged. A fluctuation in the oxytocin, the bonding hormone, can dictate a lot of your mood swings and anxiety issues. Sometimes, hormonal changes affect your bones and joints, too. In some cases, women develop postpartum thyroiditis, an inflammation of the thyroid gland. But, all of this could be short-lived.
The delicate post-childbirth period may seem to last for an eternity, but you will eventually find your rhythm and grow past it. You might not have an instruction manual to lead you through mommy-hood and beyond, but you have got your confidence and willpower to keep you going. More power to you, mommies!