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Is It Normal? Postpartum Edition

janine April 30, 2019

If you thought pregnancy was riddled with questions about what’s normal and what’s not, just wait until after you give birth! There are some common things women experience after the birth of their sweet babies, but which of them are normal postpartum and which are not?

Prolonged Bleeding

All women go through a period of postpartum bleeding once their new baby arrives. Usually, women will have somewhat heaving bleeding for the first few days, then it tapers off from a heavy period to light spotting eventually.

If the bleeding you experience in the first few days is accompanied by large blood clots or a fever, you should call your care provider right away. It could be a sign that some of the placenta was left inside your uterus after birth.

If your bleeding seems to be lasting for a long time, over six weeks, then this warrants a call, too. Prolonged bleeding can lead to iron deficiency and could signal that there are other issues at play.

Engorgement

Engorgement is something first-time moms frequently experience. It can be normal to experience a bit of engorgement since your breasts have never contained this amount of fluid before. But, if your engorgement is accompanied by a fever then you should call your care provider to make sure everything is okay.

Also, if your engorgement lasts for more than a few days then it could be a sign that there is some inflammation present in the body. See if there are any other signs of inflammation happening and then try to eliminate its cause. For some people this will be dietary. We know that the foods we eat can cause inflammation. So if you suspect inflammation is the cause of your engorgement try eliminating the top eight inflammatory foods to see if that is helpful.

The top eight inflammatory foods include:

  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Shellfish
  • Nuts
  • Coffee
  • Peanuts
  • Eggs

normal postpartum

Incontinence

Losing control of your bladder or bowels is something no woman wants to talk about, especially when they’re young and have just had a baby! But it happens, and understandably so. When you look at the process of pregnancy and birth it can cause a lot of muscle and tissue strain to very sensitive and easily damaged areas. It can be normal to experience a slight weakening of your pelvic floor muscles in the early days after having a baby. If you dribble a little or have a stray surprise fart in those early days it’s likely nothing to worry about.

But if those symptoms persist, or get worse, then you should see your doctor for a referral to a pelvic floor physiotherapist for an evaluation. Pelvic floor physiotherapists are trained to assess the weaknesses of your pelvic floor. They will be able to help guide you on whether or not therapeutic exercises alone will be enough to ease your symptoms and strengthen your pelvic floor.

If they don’t think you will experience relief from exercises alone they will recommend seeing your doctor again for a referral to an OB/Gyn or Urogynecologist to assess whether or not surgery or a pessary device would be of benefit to you.

Usually, proper pelvic floor exercises are enough to make a marked improvement in many women’s quality of life post-baby.

Painful Intercourse

Many women don’t feel comfortable having sex right away after they get the all clear at six weeks from their care provider, and rightfully so! Giving birth is traumatizing to your lady parts. But, once you do decide you’re ready to dive back into the good stuff, pay attention to your pain levels. Sex shouldn’t hurt.

Some mild discomfort might occur for the first few moments but it should subside. If you have persistent pain during sex then run it by your care provider and as to be referred to a pelvic floor physiotherapist.

Persistent Pelvic Pain and Back Pain

Pregnancy can really do a number on a woman’s pelvis and back. Once the baby is out, you might think that your body will go back to how it was before and you’ll feel better. But sometimes, that is not the case. If months go by and you seem to still feel like you’re pregnant due to pelvis or back pain, then you should see a chiropractor or osteopath to see if spinal misalignment is causing your issues.

A simple adjustment might be all you need to go back to feeling amazing again.

Dizziness

Dizziness after giving birth can be a common, and an also troubling, complaint that some women experience. But it’s not one you should put up with without knowing the cause.

Some causes of dizziness after birth include:

  • Spinal leak (if you had an epidural.)
  • Inner ear issues (can be caused by pushing too hard.)
  • Anemia (can be made worse by prolonged bleeding.)
  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Your body adjusting to lower blood volume following delivery.
  • Histamine issues.
  • Viral flare.

If you’re experiencing dizziness that affects your ability to function then you should bring it up with your care provider. Don’t let them brush you off either. Dizziness is a real problem for anyone let alone a mother with a new little baby to care for.

Once you get to the root cause of your dizziness then you can treat it and begin to feel better.

Have you experienced any of these complaints once you had your baby? What helped you get through it?

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janine
Janine is a Holistic Nutritionist and health writer, as well as a virtual business owner. She likes to write informative articles on health topics to share her knowledge with others. She is also a mother to three amazing children whom she home schools!
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1 Comment

  1. I agree with what you’ve said, but something to be aware of (I’m not a clinician or medically trained) but here in the UK mums are now getting a bit more support for post natal depression. We all expect to be really happy after birth which of course a lot of people are, but sometimes people need time to adjust. When I had mine in the 80’s support wasn’t available. On a lighter note anyone expecting, I hope you all enjoy your bundles of joy and have a great time welcoming them to the family.

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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