Nanette Malone, BSN, RN, Women’s and Children’s Manager
You’re probably feeling excited and ready to take on motherhood after nine months of waiting. As a new mother, it’s likely that much of your time and attention will be on your new baby, which is why it is so important for you to take care of yourself in order to rebuild your strength.
With all of the physical and emotional changes taking place postpartum, it’s common to feel tired, worn down and even anxious. Many new mothers face the challenge of adjusting to the exhaustion that comes with constantly caring for a newborn baby, so it’s vital to keep your health needs in mind during this time.
Postpartum is not easy, and although you may feel ready and willing to jump into motherhood, there are a few things you should keep in mind to better prepare yourself for what to expect.
Your road to recovery
What exactly is postpartum and how long does it last?
The postpartum period begins after the delivery of the baby and can last up to six weeks. It’s considered to be the time when a woman undergoes the transition of becoming a mother, and the time where major adjustments take place.
What can I do for postpartum pain?
Weeks after delivery, you still may be experiencing some discomfort and pain in perineum. We recommend sitting on an ice pack or frozen pad in order to decrease pain and help the swelling. You can also use a pain medication such as Advil or ibuprofen twice per day as needed.
Is my bleeding normal?
Bleeding can occur up to six weeks after giving birth and is considered normal during postpartum. Heavy bleeding is common 8-10 weeks after delivery but as it dies down, the blood will start to turn into a light discharge. As time goes on, this will start to digress, although you might still experience light spotting once in a while. If bleeding continues, we recommend seeing a specialist here at Baptist Health.
How long until I start my period again?
Whether you’re breastfeeding or not will determine the start date of your period postpartum. If you’re not breastfeeding, you can expect your period to start up again 8-10 weeks after giving birth. If you’re breastfeeding, it can take up to a year to start your period. Many women experience a heavy period postpartum due to the amount of estrogen produced during pregnancy, but this can vary.
Why am I feeling sadness and anxiety?
During postpartum, it is very common to experience feelings of sadness and anxiety. Baptist Health states that 1 out of 7 women experience significant depression and post-traumatic stress postpartum. Just know you’re not alone. If you’re experiencing symptoms such as these, reach out to your care provider at Baptist Health. Make a list of your symptoms and take a supportive friend or family member to a meeting with your care provider. Admitting something is wrong is the first step to getting better.
When can I start exercising again?
When you start to feel up to it, you can begin exercising by doing some light walking around your neighborhood or on the treadmill. You may also start to experiment with some gentle yoga poses of stressing, or some upper body exercises. However, if you had a C-section you will want to get permission from your doctors at Baptist Health.
How important is breastfeeding?
Breast milk contains all the essential vitamins and nutrients your baby needs during the first six months of life. It contains sustenance that helps your baby fight disease and illness during the time when their immune system is weak. And for you new mothers, breastfeeding provides emotional benefits that help recover you from childbirth quicker and easier.
When it’s time to deliver, labor will be the only thing on your mind. Plan ahead.