A body changes a lot during pregnancy. It works hard to keep the baby healthy and safe. When you give birth to a child, you can expect more changes to happen to your body. Some of them are emotional, such as feeling extra stress. Others are physical, like your breasts developing milk. Your body, therefore, will inevitably appear different after giving birth.
So what can you expect from your postpartum body?
Take note of the following:
Swollen and Bruised Vagina
If you had gone through a normal delivery, your vagina will look bruised and swollen from a few days to a week after delivering your baby. Although this may seem a little unusual, know that this is perfectly normal. You can help cut down the inflammation by using cold packs. When possible, put on organic pads and organic underwear.
Another way to help relieve the pressure is to lie down (on your side instead of your back) instead of sit. If you can, sit on a cushion rather than a hard chair.
Note: childbirth can also change the appearance of your vagina. If you're planning to undergo a vaginal rejuvenation procedure in the future to repair and restore normal vaginal function, please talk to your gynecologist first.
After giving birth, your breasts will probably become sore, engorged with milk, swollen and flushed. This swelling will go down in approximately three or four days (or until you cease breastfeeding). Your breasts will start to sag due to the stretched skin. You may also experience milk leakage, which can happen several weeks, even if you've stopped breastfeeding your baby. The nipple may also appear displaced.
If you are looking for relief from breast discomfort, use cold packs. Nursing your baby frequently is another great way to ease the pain.
These thin scars on the butt, hips and stomach usually begin looking red and then lighten within a year. The amount of stretch marks you'll have depends a lot on two things: how quickly you gain weight and your genetics.
Prescription topical ointments, such as tretinoin cream, helps get rid of unattractive stretch marks. Take note, though, that they are not safe to use while you are nursing your baby. Talk to your doctor to find out when you can use this ointment.
Discoloration of the Skin
Hormonal fluctuations can cause dark patches on the upper lips, cheeks and forehead that often fade postpartum but don't disappear completely. Steroids and prescription bleaching creams work either in combination or by themselves. Many patients find improvements within a few weeks.
There are a couple of downsides, though. You can't use these skin care products while you are nursing. They can also cause temporary dryness, peeling and redness.
Dull Hair or Hair Loss
Your hair could lose its luster after you deliver your baby. Pregnancy has a nice biological side effect: fuller and thicker hair. This “bonus,” however, only lasts for the term of the pregnancy itself.
Apart from dull hair, you may notice your falling out in the months after your baby is born. Don't worry, though. You are not going bald. The thinning will eventually slow and the volume of your hair will go back to normal after three months or so. If you continue to lose hair for an extended period, however, please check with your doctor.
Night sweats in the first few days after labor are part of the natural hormonal adjustment process of your body. Your body is retaining fluid from pregnancy, and sweating is a way to expel the fluid.
The night sweats should dry up in a few days. If you're sweating at night, create a comfortable bedroom environment, wear breathable PJs and get a cooling pillow to help you sleep well at night.
You'll experience bleeding regardless if you underwent a C-section or a vaginal delivery. After giving birth, you will bleed quite heavily for about a week. Don't panic right away, though. This is your body's way of shedding any excess blood and the lining of the uterus.
Take note that the bleeding may be intense for the first few days after delivery. So, use organic sanitary pads to take care of the bleeding. Refrain from using tampons unless you have approval from your doctor. This product can cause infections.
You can expect the bleeding to be heavy and frequent in the first week. The blood will look bright red. After the said period, the bleeding will fade and become less heavy. If you notice any big clots, don't hesitate to call your doctor, as you could be at risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
Body changes after delivering your baby are normal. During this time, the best thing you can do is to focus on taking great care of your body in a nourishing and healthy way.