Physical Postpartum Symptoms | Be postpartum prepared
by sinitta bajaj
Recognizing physical postpartum symptoms:
Precautions to take after birth
It’s time to think of the mommies in order to think for the babies!
Let’s not undersell childbirth. A majority of people are simply unaware or uninterested in a mother’s journey postpartum.
A woman walking around with a swollen belly is the center of everyone’s attention, and when the baby comes, he/she becomes a priority. But what about you? Yes, lonely, suffering, mum, we’re talking to you. What about you?
Women can endure and oftentimes, their lack of complaints against postpartum symptoms and ailments go unseen or ignored. Your body is recovering, whether you like it or not, and it may continue to do so for the next 6-8 months after birth (or more for some women). However, postpartum recovery is not as pleasing or simple as it sounds.
Let’s not beat around the bush and get right to it. Following is a list of symptoms new mothers must look out for:
1. Hormonal shifts
You know how you experience mild PTSD or hormonal changes during your period? Well, why don’t you multiply that tenfold?
Postpartum recovery consists of some severe mood changes, postpartum depression, more sweating (especially at night), hair fall, etc. Now, you may feel helpless during this phase but do remember you have to emotionally survive for the baby.
2. Perineal soreness
When you squeeze out a human the size of a watermelon, your perineum tends to be swollen and bruised, to say the least. You will find it tough to pee because of all that stinging, and your vagina may feel sore and pained at all times.
If your doctor has made a cut in your perineal area during birth or you have suffered a vaginal tear, use soothing remedies all the same. You can find some of these on the internet in the forms of witch hazel, cooling pads, and more, so you can at least find momentary relief.
3. Sore nipples and breasts
Breastfeeding is thought of as a magical bond between mother and child, and while that may be true, it does not make Mom bionic, now does it? She still feels the pain of latching, engorgement, and itchiness.
It is best to check your breastfeeding position to see if your latching process is correct (what feels right IS right). Educate yourself and ask your doc/midwife/lactation consultant for help. Find products that will support your breastfeeding journey.
4. Abdominal pain
Your uterus was previously the size of a laundry bag and now is reduced to shrinking back to size. Women refer to them as ‘afterpains’, as this is one of the most recognized postpartum physical symptoms.
Did you know that breastfeeding actually releases a chemical in the body that causes the uterus to tighten? How miraculous are our bodies?
If severe, you can use heating pads or hot water bottles to get some relief. Consult your doctor if these pains seem unbearable; something could be wrong!
5. Constipation and diarrhea
Childbirth is just full with elegant processes, is it not?
And yes, constipation AND diarrhea (not together, though, so you can relax). Pain killers ingested during birth can slow down or ruin the bowel process, which is quite common among new mothers.
Mostly, postpartum constipation is brought on due to fear. Yes, you heard that right! Mothers who have stitches in their perineal area may be afraid to go to the bathroom (number 2) for fear of tearing them. Always remember that our bodies are not as fragile as we think they are!
Rest, eat well, and drink plenty of water.
Even diarrhea is not considered the diarrhea of postpartum physical symptoms. Instead, it's hemorrhoids. To put it simply, hemorrhoids refer to the swelling of a particular vein in the rectum during pregnancy. (ouch!)
If you’re lucky enough to miss them during pregnancy, you’re likely to have them after birth (due to all that pushing and straining). They can further cause bleeding and pain.
7. Stitches (for natural or C-section/ Abdominal births)
Are we going to have to get serious now? (just kidding)
Doctors sometimes make cuts to the perineal area if the mother cannot push out the baby. And, of course, there are the stitches a mother endures when she’s giving birth through a C-section (cesarean). Perineal stitches take 7-10 days to heal, while C-section stitches may take 5-10 days.
Mommas, you must remember to keep your hands off your stitches no matter how tempted you are to check the healing process. Keep it clean and dry; use a squirt bottle to clean the perineum.
Any weeping, bleeding, or painful stitches should be immediately checked by a professional.
8. Water retention
As if retaining a baby inside your body for nine months wasn’t enough, that water has decided to war against you now.
You may wish to see all that weight instantly gone postpartum, but you’re wrong! Water retention is one of the most common postpartum physical symptoms among mothers. The condition is referred to as postpartum edema and has the mother’s body hold water due to the production of a hormone called progesterone.
Don’t worry; your hands will not look like Shrek’s for very long. In time, you will find the swelling reducing.
9.Vaginal bleeding and discharge
This is one of the most common and well-known postpartum changes mothers go through. It is very normal to have bleeding or discharge post-birth.
This is simply a way for your body to get over that extra tissue and blood accumulated in the body due to the baby.
Light bleeding and spotting (a term you must be used to) are very normal. Try to use sanitary pads instead of tampons since the latter can cause bacteria to collect and infect over time. Do not fear clots; however, if you see abnormally large clots, you must contact a doctor.
10. Weight loss
Perhaps the most welcomed symptom of all!
Women are tired of feeling bloated during their pregnancy, and this is why they welcome the weight loss, even if it is a postpartum physical symptom!
Do not get overexcited just yet; none of this is going to happen in the blink of an eye. However, you must expect to lose at least 10-12 pounds postpartum. Breastfeeding is a big contributor to this weight loss since you can lose 500 calories a day through the same. However, you must not depend on breastfeeding to lose weight, there’s a lot more that goes into losing weight.
Remember to eat and drink well, ladies!
Note: While we have listed the most important or serious postpartum recovery symptoms, there are others that cannot be ignored - headaches, hemorrhage, deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in a vein), fever, dizziness, and more.
All women aspire to be amazing mothers, and they are too! However, they forget to care for themselves, always putting their babies, husbands, and families before themselves.
But the nurturer cannot tire! For the sake of the baby and the family.
Therefore, you must listen to your bodies and understand what they are trying to say. After all, isn’t a symptom just another way for the body to communicate with us? We know looking after yourself is tough, especially when no one else is thinking of you.
But we, at Mamacare, ARE! We aim to nurture the nurturers so they are armed with all they need to take care of their bodies and babies efficiently. Don’t wait anymore; head to our products page and fill your cart with our postpartum essentials.