So you finally had the baby! YIPPEEE!!!!
I’m sure he/she is ADORABLE, and the apple of your eye………
Now that you no longer have to visit your OB/GYN every week and are flying, in most cases solo, no offense to dads who are doing what they can, I thought it might be helpful to go over a few things to tide you over until your next visit; which will be 1-2 weeks post delivery if you delivered via C-section, or 6 weeks if you had an uncomplicated, vaginal delivery.
1. DON’T FREAK OUT! Being a new mom, hell, just being a mom, is very OVERWHELMING!!!!! Motherhood is really like nothing you can describe….it truly is something you have to experience first hand to understand.
Only one of my close friends has children….
I remember thinking, “sigh, I wish that baby would stop crying, or, that her kid would stop interrupting, or, she would focus on our conversation…..“I SO GET IT NOW!
Talk about learning to multi task…..you learn to JUST DO IT! As soon as baby is born, that Wonder Woman cape, boy cut, star spangled panties, and wrist bands just appear…..there’s no crash course; you JUST DO IT. And while it takes a minute to get used to, YOU WILL RISE to the occasion……
Not to fear, we all feel overwhelmed at first.
2. Pain. Every day, it should get better and better. You should try not to lift anything greater than the weight of the baby if you’ve had a C-section, and for my moms that are breast feeding, remember, breast feeding causes uterine cramping…..
So don’t be surprised at the increase in discomfort every time baby breast feeds.
3. Breast feeding. For my breast feeding moms, just a pearl, breast engorgement or when your milk first comes in, is a major cause of fever post delivery. Motrin/Tylenol should help with this…..
If you feel as if you are having any signs of mastitis, or breast infection; i.e., breast pain, redness of the breast, fever/chills, please call your OB ASAP!
For my moms that are NOT breast feeding, not to fear, though the hospitals and nurses may make you feel as if you’ve committed a cardinal sin by not breast feeding, it’s a personal choice and is NOT for everyone….
It wasn’t for me….
Anyway, ice packs to the breast(this can consist of ice in a towel, ice in zip lock bags, or packs of frozen fruits/vegetables) are a good way to dry up your breast milk.
4. Swelling. I ALWAYS warn my moms that swelling gets worse before it gets better! This is important to realize as once you go home, often times you’ll note increased swelling in your lower extremities; i.e., legs.
THIS IS NORMAL!
I typically recommend propping your legs up when you’re relaxing(whenever that may be (smile)), and water with lemon in it(it’s a natural diuretic).
Remember, you are still at an increased risk of leg clots(DVTs) until you are at least 6 weeks post partum. Warning signs include: calf pain/tenderness; warmth/redness of the legs; one leg being significantly more swollen than the other, etc.
5. Exercise. For those who had a vaginal delivery….it’s pretty much activity as tolerated. I typically advise my moms to listen to their bodies….
If you feel tired during a workout(I would start with light cardio), reel it in. For those who delivered via C-section……no ab work until you are 8 weeks post partum…..you can, however, start with light cardio and advance from there.
I also recommend that my C-section patients, again, not lift anything greater than the weight of the baby.
6. Incision care……..Very easy! Sloppy wet sponge/rag…..let soapy water run over incision.
Keeping your incision dry is of the utmost importance. If you are a “fluffier” mom and your incision lies underneath a fold of skin, using a pad and changing it frequently will help keep the incision dry.
7. Pelvic Pain. Remember all the laxity and looseness of joints, ligaments, and bones that you experienced during your pregnancy?!?!?
Well, now all those changes have to reverse themselves…..this doesn’t happen over night but will gradually improve as your body comes back into its own with decreasing hormone levels, etc.
8. Bleeding. The official term for post partum bleeding is “lochia”. This can last anywhere from 6-8 weeks post partum.
It should gradually decrease and will change colors ranging from bright red, to dark red, to brown, to tan, to eventually clear.
As long as it is not foul smelling, there is nothing to worry about.
I always tell my moms to wear a panty liner……just when you think the bleeding has gone away…BOOM!!!! It’s back……no one likes those kinds of surprises.
Speaking of bleeding, word to the wise….that first period post delivery IS A BEAST!!!!!
Translation: it’s super heavy. As long as you aren’t soaking through more than a pad/hr, it’s fine. If, at any time during the post delivery course you are bleeding more than a pad/hr, call your doctor immediately.
9. Lets Talk About Sex Baby! The usual rule of thumb is pelvic rest until you’ve been evaluated at your 6 week post partum check. This is just to ensure that everything has had an ample amount of time to heal adequately.
I also HIGHLY recommend that you use a lubricant, especially in those breast feeding, as vaginal dryness(which often times is exacerbated by breast feeding) can be an issue that first time post delivery.
10. Getting your body back! We’ve discussed exercise, ab work, etc.
A healthy diet, note, I said nothing about “dieting”……..but a healthy diet combined with exercise will bring you back to where you want to be.
If you are unsure of what “healthy” looks like, in box me at: firstname.lastname@example.org . I have taken it upon myself to lead by example.
I gained close to 50 pounds during my pregnancy and not only got back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but have been able to maintain my lean, mean, size zero physique with ease. Yes, it’s just that easy.
Hoping this blog post adds value to your day!
Until we meet again,
Look Better. Feel Better. Be Better.
Wife, mother, Midwesterner, and award-winning OB/GYN, Dr. Angela is equal parts best girlfriend and bold professional, supporting women’s health with innovative approaches to care and heavy doses of humor. Dr. Angela has done more than launch a successful practice, she has defined herself as a voice for a new generation of womanhood, established her ASK DR. ANGELA brand committed to authenticity, and built a community rooted in trust, candor, and compassion.