Giving birth is an amazing, life-changing event. And while it’s natural to feel a little apprehensive about what comes next, it’s important to remember that your body is designed to handle this massive change. Here are 10 things you can expect in the weeks and months after you give birth – and remember, if you’re experiencing any of the below symptoms particularly severely, it might be worth seeking perinatal counselling in Perth.
1. Weight gain
It’s normal to gain weight during pregnancy, but you can expect to lose some of that weight immediately after delivery. However, it’s also normal to retain some of the pregnancy weight, particularly if you’re breastfeeding. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t instantly snap back to your pre-pregnancy weight.
2. Sleep deprivation
Let’s be honest: newborns don’t really care about their sleep schedule. You can expect to be up multiple times throughout the night for feedings, nappy changes, and just general comforting. Try to take naps when your baby naps so you can get some much-needed rest.
3. Perinatal depression
It’s not uncommon for new mothers to experience some degree of perinatal depression, which is caused by the hormonal changes that occur after childbirth. If you’re feeling particularly down or anxious, talk to your doctor so they can help you get the treatment you need.
4. Body aches and pains
Your body has been through a lot! It’s not unusual to experience some residual aches and pains in the weeks after delivery, particularly in your back and pelvic area. Taking a warm bath or using a heating pad can help ease some of the discomforts.
5. Vaginal discharge and bleeding
You’ll likely experience vaginal discharge for several weeks after giving birth, which is perfectly normal. The amount of discharge will vary depending on whether you delivered vaginally or via C-section, but it should eventually taper off. You may also experience some bleeding (lochia), which should gradually decrease over time as well. Be sure to use pads rather than tampons during this time period.
6. Breastfeeding soreness
Breastfeeding can be a wonderful bonding experience for both you and your baby, but it doesn’t come without its challenges – namely, soreness! Your nipples may become cracked or bleed in the early days of breastfeeding, but this should improve with time as your body adjusts. Using a lanolin cream can also help soothe any discomfort.
7. Emotional roller coaster
It’s common to feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster in the weeks after giving birth. From the “baby blues” to full-blown postpartum depression, hormone levels can cause serious mood swings. Again, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor if you’re struggling.
8. Hormone fluctuations
As your hormone levels return to normal, you may experience a range of side effects, such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and anxiety. These symptoms usually subside within a few weeks or months but talk to your doctor if they become bothersome.
9. Decreased libido
It’s not unusual for new mothers to have a decreased libido in the months after childbirth. This can be due to hormonal changes, exhaustion, and stress. Again, if you’re concerned about your libido, speak to your doctor.
10. Urinary incontinence
Childbirth weakens the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder and urethra. This can lead to involuntary leakage of urine (stress incontinence) when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or during physical activity.
While there are many things that are out of our control during pregnancy and postpartum, knowing what to expect can help make the journey a little less daunting. Wishing you all the best during this special time.