After one goes through labor, your body can go through many changes. Your hormones are all over the place, the uterus is shrinking, internal organs are shifting back into place, and tears or incisions are beginning to heal.
Immediate postpartum is what happens in the first minutes or hours after birth. Shaking, which can be severe, can happen for several minutes or more after birth. You may also have continued contractions or cramps which cause the placenta to detach. Bleeding from the site where the placenta was attached to the uterus or from any tears can happen. You may also feel weak or unsteady afterward. It’s likely to have sore muscles, especially if mom labored or pushed for a long time. The perineum may have swelling and be tender. Kangaroo care, also known as skin-to-skin may also happen right away after baby is born. There are many documented benefits for mother and baby such as helping the uterus contract and reduce bleeding, release hormones for lactation and bonding, the baby is more likely to successfully latch on to the breast for breastfeeding, it’s the most natural and effective way to warm baby, the baby’s heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and body temperature are more stable and baby is also a lot calmer and less likely to cry.
Many women wonder what may happen after they have baby, there are many things that can happen after baby is born. The care provider may take measures to slow the blood loss such as use medication, uterine massage. Another thing that can happen is repairing the perineum if needed using stitches. Skin-to-skin with baby and breastfeeding, transfer to a postpartum room also happens after baby. When mom is ready they will let her move, walk and use the bathroom. Also, if mom and birth partner are free they can talk to visitors, make phone calls, and texts to let everyone know that baby has arrived. Another important thing after baby is born is to replenish fluids because a lot of the electrolytes and energy that one had was used during the delivery and labor of baby.
The first few days and maybe even weeks after birth there may still be some discomforts after having baby. A few of those are exhaustion, gas, bloating, hemorrhoids or constipation, tenderness in the perineum, breast tenderness from engorgement or nipple soreness from breastfeeding, continued bleeding and vaginal discharge, leaking urine due to the stretching of the pelvic floor muscles, profuse sweating and changing in hormones.
There are many ways you can help your body heal. A few ways you can do this is a warm water/sitz bath that can help with the swelling as well as using ice packs, drinking lots of fluids and eating a well-balanced diet, and continuing to take your prenatal vitamins. There are also some signs to watch for that could be concerning; persistent vomiting, fever or flu-like symptoms, heavy, bright red vaginal bleeding that includes clots and soaks through a pad in two hours or less, vaginal itching or foul-smelling lochia, burning sensation while urinating, persistent faintness, short of breath, clammy, swelling, pain or tenderness in the legs, and anything else that concerns you.
There are many things that can be helpful to a new mom after she has baby. The birth partner, family and friends who come over can help clean up the house if it needs tidying up, can help by bringing over freezer meals, can help by feeding baby so mom can take a shower or watch baby while they are sleeping so mom can relax and have a nice bath. Dads can also help by telling mom that you appreciate her, let her know that you’re proud of her and she’s doing a wonderful job, and also by sending her off for a little bit for herself to either get her hair done, buy a new outfit or two or even getting a massage so she can relax.