Becoming a mother is an incredible, special, and often challenging time in any woman’s life. Childbirth looks different for each individual, but each faces the transition from pregnancy to postpartum—which brings with it a variety of symptoms and changes.
The first six weeks after giving birth are a crucial recovery period, which is a balancing act with caring for and bonding with your new baby. Each woman will recover at a different pace and will face unique symptoms. Some may pass quickly, while others might persist for much longer.
For example, after a vaginal birth, it can take weeks for your perineum to heal—especially if you had an episiotomy or perineal tear. If you delivered your baby by C-section, you may have a longer hospital stay after delivery and your incision will need time to heal.
Here are some symptoms to expect during the “fourth trimester” of postpartum healing, and tips for speeding up and finding comfort in the process.
Common Postpartum Symptoms
Postpartum bleeding. Expect postpartum bleeding, or lochia, to last for up to six weeks after giving birth. Similar to a heavy period is normal within the first 10 days. At that point, it will begin to taper off to a pinkish brown. If you have clots larger than a golf ball or soak through more than one pad in an hour, be sure to contact your Logan, Utah OB/GYN.
Perineum healing. Use products like ice packs, peri bottles, Lidocaine spray, and witch hazel pads to soothe and heal the perineal area.
C-section incision healing. Gently clean the area with soap and water on a daily basis, pat dry, then apply antibiotic ointment. Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby and refrain from exercise until cleared by your OB/GYN in Logan, Utah.
Aches and pains. From pregnancy to active labor, your body has gone through a lot. For aches and pains, dose acetaminophen or motrin, take warm showers, and utilize heating pads.
Breast care. Your breasts may feel achy or heavy, which can be treated with a warm compress or gentle massage. If your breasts feel hot or have red streaks, contact your Logan, Utah OB/GYN to be evaluated for mastitis. Be sure to wear a comfortable bra, and treat sore nipples with lanolin cream.
Fatigue. This is both from recovery and also from the transition to motherhood and caring for a newborn. Drinking enough water, eating a variety of healthy foods, and having a support system so you can get adequate rest can help significantly.
Constipation. Eating healthy foods that are high in protein and fiber can help. Be sure to drink plenty of water as well, and avoid alcohol or caffeine. These tips can help prevent hemorrhoids, too.
Postpartum depression. Almost every woman faces a difficult adjustment period or “baby blues” during the roller coaster of hormones, sleep deprivation, and healing during the postpartum period. However, watch for symptoms of postpartum depression—including persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiousness, and isolation. This is nothing to feel ashamed about. In fact, 1 in 4 new moms are affected by postpartum depression. It’s not your fault, you’re not alone, and there are real solutions to help you feel better so you can best care for yourself and your baby.
OB/GYN In Logan, Utah For Postpartum Recovery
While exercise is off limits for the first six weeks after either a vaginal birth or C-section, moving regularly—like by going on short walks—can help with many postpartum symptoms.
Having a baby is an exciting, overwhelming, life changing experience, and you don’t have to tackle it alone. Stay in contact with your OB/GYN in Logan, Utah, and keep up with your regularly scheduled appointments—especially your six week postpartum follow up appointment.
Remember to be patient with yourself, and take care of you in addition to caring for your new bundle of joy.