What Happens After Giving Birth - What They Don’t Talk About
After reading all the books, attending all the classes, and consulting with all your family and friends you probably feel ready to take on pregnancy, labor, and delivery. But what about what happens after giving birth. Unlike most classes, books, and friends we are here to tell you about what they don’t talk about. In this article, we will get into the nitty-gritty, gross, dirty details of what happens after giving birth.
What Happens After Giving Birth?
You have finished the labor and delivery portion of your pregnancy and now you are officially a mother. Now what? Even with all the research in the world, you are still probably going to find yourself unprepared for the next portion of your journey. That’s okay, if no one else wants to talk about it, we will. So let’s get into the details of what to expect in the hospital and once you leave.
What Happens After Giving Birth? In the Hospital
Directly after the birth of your baby, you may be thinking you have the worst of it over with. I mean you did just deliver a child. Unfortunately for some women, the delivery of their child is not the worst of the delivery process.
Many women don’t talk about it, but the afterbirth can be one of the most painful portions of your labor and delivery. After the baby comes, your body still needs to get rid of the placenta. The placenta is the membrane/tissue that your baby developed in, in your uterus. So, not only do you have to give birth to your baby, but you also have to give birth to the placenta too. After the baby is born it typically takes about 30 minutes for the placenta to be delivered. This can be the most painful part of a woman’s labor (particularly if the placenta has to be manually extracted) or it can be super easy.
The Tummy Massage
In order to make sure that your uterus is contracting correctly and to make sure you deliver the placenta, you may be given a tummy massage. While the name may sound delightful--it is anything but. The nurse has to press down on your fatigued, sensitive stomach and push in all different directions. This is meant to stimulate contractions and help the uterus shrink back down after birth. It can be painful and uncomfortable.
After giving birth, you have probably gotten a little used to being on display for the whole world to see, but you’re not done yet. Every bodily function and every inch of you is being monitored and explored. There is no privacy--even your bathroom habits are monitored.
With all the medicine, hormones, stress, anxiety, and emotions your body can start to uncontrollably shake. For some women, this doesn’t happen, but for many, it can be a surprising after-effect of their labor and delivery.
So, you have delivered a baby, pushed out the afterbirth, possibly had to get stitches and everything. You are likely covered in blood, tissue, and discharge, but you can’t take a shower. Yep, after all that, you probably feel disgusting and self-conscious, but you can’t take a shower yet. You have to wait until you can be unhooked from all the machines and not under constant moderation. That can be hours after you have given birth.
In general, you won’t be permitted to walk for about 12 hours after your labor. Not only are your muscles fatigued, but all the medicine can prevent you from being able to walk in the first place.
Before you are released from the hospital there is a list of things that you and your baby have to complete. One of the things that you have to do before they release you, is fart. The nurses will constantly be asking “have you farted yet?” And you have to answer, again, no privacy.
You Aren’t Ready
You may think and believe that you are ready to have a child, but you most likely aren’t. No matter how many books you read, classes you take, and how prepared you feel, nothing compares to the real thing. Once you and your baby are released from the hospital you can suddenly feel like a deer in the headlights. Do I have to take care of this? By myself? I don’t know what I’m doing? Is there an instruction manual? Don’t worry, every mother has been there. You will get through it. Just take it one day, one hour at a time.
What Happens After Giving Birth? At Home
Once you get home, it is a whole other ordeal. Not only do you have to take care of your baby, but you have to take care of yourself too. Your body is still healing and so many changes occur in such a short amount of time--it can be overwhelming. Here are some of the things you can expect.
You Will Bleed A Lot
You’re not done with the blood yet. After birth, your vagina and uterus are going to take a while to completely heal. Mesh underwear and pads are going to be your best friend for a while. This blood and tissue, known as the lochia, will continue for up to six weeks after giving birth. Make sure you stock up on the pads and granny panties.
All The Postpartum Cleanup
In addition to the bleeding, your vagina will be akin to a crime scene. You may have sutures from tearing, your vagina will be sore and swollen, and you may have some gross discharge. It sucks dealing with that but in order to make sure you don’t develop an infection you will have to take care of it. This can include spraying it with a perineum bottle, changing out your pad every time you go to the bathroom, and even popping a little cold witch hazel into your underwear. A cold witch hazel-soaked pad can help reduce swelling and prevent itchiness. Pre-soaked pads such as those created for hemorrhoids are perfect!
Your Boobs Will Get Huge
Even if you don’t plan on breastfeeding your boobs will start to have a mind of their own. Between milk production and your hormones, your boobs will become huge. Not only this, but they will leak afterward too.
As your body adjusts to not being pregnant anymore, it will begin to expel any excess fluids it was holding on to. This means frequent peeing and sweating. And just because you’re sleeping doesn’t mean they stop. You may wake up in the morning, covered in sweat, and with your pillow soaked through. Cute right?
You Will Never Sleep Again
Ok, that is a little bit of an exaggeration, but it’s not far from the truth for the first year or so. Your sleep schedule and your baby’s sleep schedule can be wildly different. They may be waking up every two hours, and then you may be waking up every hour in between to adjust yourself or go to the bathroom. This can result in restless nights and overly-tired days.
While your uterus is still shrinking back to its normal size, you may experience some cramping and abdominal pain. This is normal and not anything to worry about--unless it becomes severe, then seek out your doctor’s opinion.
Of course, we had to leave the best ones for last, bodily functions are going to hurt. Because your pee is acidic, and because your vagina is still healing, this can cause some serious burning sensations when you pee. The best way to combat this is to use a perineum bottle and spray your vagina while you pee. This will keep the pee from burning and causing an infection.
Constipation And Pooping
At last, we have come to the number one thing people don’t talk about after giving birth--bowel movements. For real, this is one of the weirdest things about the postpartum period. Your first poop after giving birth is going to be difficult. Not only does pushing hurt, but so does your downstairs region. The best way to combat this is to take some stool softeners. You may be constipated for a few days after giving birth, but make sure you reach out to a doctor if you go past three days. Some hospitals may not even discharge you until you have gone poop.
There are a lot of things that women won’t tell you after giving birth. Either because they are taboo, or because they are embarrassed to talk about it. Hopefully, you feel a little more prepared after reading this for the journey ahead.
While there are many things women don’t talk about, one thing is for sure--it is all worth it. Holding your newborn in your arms and watching them grow is one of the most rewarding experiences in the whole world. Don’t let the process prevent you from enjoying the reward. Make sure you have the best postpartum experience by investing in a postpartum girdle. Bellefit’s postpartum girdles are designed to ease movement and provide medical-grade compression to your abdomen. This helps you move around, feel less pain, and enjoy your time with your newborn. Get yours today!