So you have been carrying your child in your belly for a good nine months now. And you are just tingling with anticipation. You can’t wait to give birth!
As a first-time mom, you are a ball of tangled emotions. You are excited to finally give birth to your baby and rightly so. But you may also have feelings of anxiety about your baby’s health and your own too, especially if you are undergoing a caesarian delivery, which is considered major surgery. You may also be having feelings of uncertainty about what will happen after you give birth.
While your pregnancy journey is uniquely your own, there will still be certain similarities for all mothers. You may have heard about other women’s pregnancy journeys. Their experiences will give you the broad strokes on what to expect when it is your time to deliver your baby and what comes after.
Postpartum expectations of first-time moms
Your body will change.
Your body changes with pregnancy and after delivering your baby. Just imagine that in your belly, you carried your newborn for nine whole months. That involves stretching parts of your body to make space for the child growing in you. You cannot expect your body to go back to how it was before you became pregnant. Be ready to deal with those changes after you give birth.
However, always remember that you can get your body back into its former shape. Just give it time to fully heal.
You will experience discomfort, soreness, or pains.
You will feel pain, no matter the type of delivery procedure that you undergo. Expect to feel some soreness in your vaginal area for vaginal delivery, or in the incision made if you give birth via caesarian section. It will take a few weeks for your body to heal.
It is advisable that you talk to your attending physician about ways to help relieve the pain. Be sure to take things easy after giving birth to help your body heal faster. As much as possible, avoid lifting anything heavier than your newborn to prevent aggravating your vaginal tear or surgical incision.
There will be blood discharge after giving birth.
Do not be surprised with any bleeding after you give birth. That is normal and it is referred to as lochia. After birth, your body sheds the superficial mucous membrane present in your uterus during pregnancy. The bleeding that you will experience after giving birth is made up of this mucous membrane and your blood.
Expect the bloody discharge to be red and heavy for the first few days. The color and volume of your discharge will progressively change, becoming lighter in volume and color in the weeks after. You may want to make use of sanitary pads to ease your discomfort from the discharge.
You will feel tenderness in various parts of your body.
After giving birth, your body will experience discomfort, fatigue, and tenderness, especially in your chest area. Your breasts will feel firmer and larger, as they begin producing milk. If you decide to breastfeed your baby, the tenderness you feel will linger until the time that your baby decides to stop breastfeeding or you wean your baby from it.
What would first-time moms need for postpartum care?
While the focus is usually on your baby, keep in mind that you also need to take care of yourself. Having a postpartum recovery care package on hand can help first-time moms such as yourself. It will make life a bit easier for you if you already have these must-have items on hand after delivery.
Having maternity pads around comes in handy when the bleeding starts after you deliver your baby. And since you already know that bleeding or vaginal discharge will occur, it is easy to see why maternity pads are a must-have item in your care package.
Make sure to have a few packs on hand especially in the first days after you give birth when vaginal discharge will be at its heaviest. You can eventually start using regular pads once the bleeding lightens.
You will be experiencing heavy bleeding or vaginal discharge the first few days after you deliver your baby. If you want to avoid ruining your regular underwear, you may want to use disposable ones until your bleeding lightens. Disposable underwear are generally stretchable, breathable, lightweight, made of cotton, and feel comfy to the skin. This way, you do not have to worry about cleaning up the stains on your usual underwear.
Disposable underwear comes in different sizes, so don’t worry about finding one that fits. You would only need a pack or two or 15 to 20 pieces at most for the days when the bleeding will be heavy.
Postpartum belly bands
One of the most noticeable changes in your body during pregnancy will be your belly. It will stretch as your baby grows inside your tummy. And when you give birth, your belly will not automatically go back to its original size and form. It will take a while for your uterus to get back to its pre-pregnancy size.
Wearing a postpartum belly band or wrap helps support your body after childbirth. It is not just worn for aesthetic purposes. If you feeling postpartum back pain or pelvic girdle pain, wearing a postpartum belly band can help provide relief.
For breastfeeding moms, a well-fitting and comfortable nursing bra is a must in your care package. Go for a cotton spandex nursing bra that is soft on your skin, even if you experience cracked nipples. This kind of bra makes breastfeeding fast and easy for both you and your baby.
Maternity pads with ice packs
You might experience constantly tender breasts. A maternity pad with ice packs may just be the must-have item that you need. Ice helps decrease the pain or tenderness that you constantly feel in and around your breasts. Apply these pads to your breasts in between feedings.
These pads can be homemade or disposable ones you can buy from stores.
Take control of your postpartum journey!
Pregnancy and childbirth are amazing experiences for moms. And while the journey is not all pleasurable, you can still take control of your postpartum journey by being aware of the things to expect after childbirth. Doing this is a good way to prepare for the time when you and your newborn come home and to get the care that you both need once you are both settled.
Ask your spouse or your friends to help you with the support and the things that you need after childbirth. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. You and your child will greatly benefit from the support of your family and friends.
And if you need extra help caring for yourself and your baby after delivery, you may also want to bring one of our doulas onboard your pregnancy and postpartum journey. Doing this assures you of the emotional, physical and informational support and assistance you need during this period in your life when things can sometimes get overwhelming.
Contact us at Northeast Doulas today.