If you’re a first-time mom, many pregnancy symptoms will come as a surprise to you. This is because every woman and every pregnancy is different. But no matter how prepared you are for what happens next, you may find yourself facing even bigger surprises.
The internet, baby books, and doctors can give you some ideas on what to expect when you’re recovering from childbirth. But the truth is, there will still be some things you did not expect.
1. You will be exhausted
You may already expect some tiredness after delivery but what they don’t tell you is that the fatigue can last for days or even weeks regardless of your method of delivery. As your hormones return to normal and your body heals while also caring for a newborn, it can feel like you’re in a constant state of exhaustion. Try to rest when you can and reach out for help wherever possible.
2. Abdominal pain
While you may experience all sort of feelings in your belly during pregnancy, you’d think things would calm down afterward. Not exactly. Sometimes, uterine contractions and healing of the abdominal walls can lead to some abdominal discomfort.
3. Changes with your period
Your first period after childbirth may come sooner or later than you expect. For some, it may be between six to eight weeks and for others, it may take months. When it does begin, things can feel different. Your periods may be irregular and heavier while cramps may be more or less intense when compared to before you got pregnant. Basically, be prepared for anything.
4. You may bleed for weeks
Women experience discharge and bleeding after childbirth which can last for up to six weeks. This is called lochia and is caused by the natural shedding of the lining of the uterus. It’s not always heavy bleeding, though. It starts off reddish and heavy and will gradually become whitish-pale then transparent until it tapers out.
5. Baby blues
It’s normal to feel sad or blue for about a week or two as you recover from childbirth. You may find yourself irritable, weeping for no reason or overwhelmed. These can lead to guilt especially when you believe you should be in cloud nine. But many women experience these blues and they can be due to hormonal changes, stress, and fatigue. They do pass eventually. However, if you’re still feeling down after about four weeks, you should bring it up with your doctor as this could be a sign of postpartum depression.
While recovering from childbirth, you may also experience constipation especially if you took some form of anesthesia in the hospital. To ease this, try drinking lots of waters and eating fibre-rich foods. Fruits and veggies should also be a part of your diet.
7. Urinary incontinence
This is more common after a vaginal delivery but those who underwent a C-section may experience it too. Your bladder may leak when you laugh or cough causing some pee to come out. This usually subsides with time.
8. Hot flashes
This isn’t just a symptom of menopause. Post-pregnancy hormones can cause hot flashes, which is a scenario where you become unbearably hot and sweaty. This often gets better after about two weeks post-delivery.
For a healthy pregnancy, check out these tips on how to prevent depression and protect your mental health.
Featured Image via CNN