Postpartum is a sensitive and challenging time for new and experienced mamas. Learn if what you’re going through is normal, or if you should reach out for help.
Postpartum is a delicate time. You are exhausted, emotional, and overworked.You are learning the ropes of taking care of a brand new human, and trying to heal yourself.
Even for experienced mamas, it’s a time to wonder “is it normal?” Check out this quick review of common questions and concerns, and when to seek help.
If you just pushed a baby out, chances are you will be rather sore down there. That’s normal, but vaginal pain from tearing should ease within a few days, and completely (or nearly) go away in 6 weeks. If at your postpartum appointment you still experience pain, be sure to mention it. You may also have hemorrhoids. This is normal, but if it’s painful past 6 weeks, it’s also a good idea to bring it up. Good hydration and herbs can go a long way towards helping hemorrhoids. Now, let’s talk about something not comfortable – sex after delivery. Don’t expect to be comfortable having sex after delivery until after 6 weeks postpartum, or longer. Be upfront with your partner about how you feel and don’t push yourself.
After having a baby, most women have a heavy cycle lasting a week to four weeks. If you are still bleeding at your postpartum 6-week check up, be sure to mention it to your provider. It may be normal, but it may also be a sign of an issue. Often, this is because you are overdoing it and need more rest. Once, I even started bleeding 3 weeks after my bleeding had stopped for one day. Why? Because I had to throw my other child’s birthday party. Be sure to ask for help, locate a postpartum doula, nanny or housekeeper if you need more time to recover.
Ongoing bleeding may be a sign of lingering tissue in the uterus, and should be checked out.
Night sweats are normal as your body is going through huge hormonal changes. They should only last for a few days, or at most a week or two, though. If you are having temperature fluctuations throughout the day that are extreme lasting longer than three weeks post your delivery date, it may be a good idea to contact your physician. After delivery, if you have any fever, it’s best to contact your physician right away to rule out a uterine infection, which is serious.
Lack of Support/Feeling Helpless
You’re not alone. We simply don’t have the villages and community that mothers need to thrive. Do your best to build one – find a mom’s group at your local church or community, have a friend set up a meal train, and be very vocal about what you need (and what you don’t need). It’s okay to turn away visitors who wish to just hold the baby. Let any visitors know that you expect a little help, or a meal.
It is going to take awhile to get back in your old routine, so don’t expect to feel totally you until at least 3 months after the baby. Cancel commitments and find ways to delegate chores and responsibilities. Take a postpartum support supplement.
If the feelings of loneliness and helplessness are constant, causing anxiety, and heavy, it may be time to talk to your physician or a counselor. Postpartum is a difficult time for everyone, and many mothers need extra assistance. Consider supplementing to help yourself, too. Many mothers experience panic, destructive thoughts, and extreme anxiety. If this is you, seek help right away. You are not alone.
You’re starving, and that’s okay. You just grew a baby, birthed it, and are now supplying its food and for its every need. A nursing mother needs an extra 300 calories per day, so stock up. If you are absolutely starving all the time, you may need to look at what you are eating. Is is whole, nourishing foods? You need plenty of good fats, good proteins, fresh organic produce, and whole grains. Maybe a liver supplement, or fresh, local grassfed liver, is in order.
Like the rest of our bodies, our breasts go through substantial changes post delivery. Now, you have to make food for another human being – don’t forget how monumental that is. You will experience some swelling as your breasts adjust to breastfeeding, lasting a few weeks. Be sure that you are eating an extra 300 calories a day while breastfeeding, and drinking over 64 ounces of filtered water. If you experience severe tenderness when feeding, have your little one checked for a tongue or lip tie by a knowledgeable lactation consultant.
If you have serious swelling with a fever, you may have a clogged duct or mastitis. Have natural remedies on hand for these situations.
Hair loss after delivery is normal – normally starting a month or two after delivery and lasting a few weeks. Your hair naturally falls out, but stops doing so during pregnancy. After delivery, more hair falls out than usual because all the hair which didn’t fall out during pregnancy finally does. If your hair thins considerably (but remember, it likely will be thinner than when you’re pregnant) or continues past a few months, it’s time to mention it to your doctor, or try a natural hair supplement with Biotin, iodine, horsetail, or rosemary.
Be easy on yourself mama. This is a difficult time, but you will get through it. Your baby just needs you to be present and healthy – so balance yourself and ask for help when you need it.