10 Things To Expect in the First Week After Giving Birth
Pregnancy is not easy and despite all the stories and videos of glowing women who rock their bump and stride around dressed in skimpy maternity dresses with their hair all made up wearing sensible shoes, the reality is quite different and everyone who has ever gone through this journey can attest to this fact. After 40 weeks of pregnancy, we are so tired and worn out that we are truly eager for the baby to arrive. So on that D-Day, we rush to the hospital hoping that all the discomfort associated with the pregnancy will finally end.
What no one ever tells us is that the hardest part of pregnancy is after the pregnancy. Even labor does not truly prepare a woman for what will happen after she gives birth. When we have a child, seeing that beautiful bundle of joy clears all the pain and discomfort we went through during pregnancy and even during labor. When a baby is born, some medical practitioners will give a woman an hour or so to rest and recover from the birth.
After that, the woman can be released after her overnight stay to go home and enjoy her child. this is where the hardest part of pregnancy and childbirth comes in as evidenced by the following things a woman should expect in the first week of giving birth.
10. You Will Both Be In Diapers
Some of us think that giving birth through a C-Section means that the doctor will clear the entire gunk that would otherwise come out and we will go home and have fun for the next one year or so without seeing a drop of blood. How wrong we are. Whether or not you gave birth the ‘normal’ way or the ‘abnormal’ way through a C-section, emergency or planned, the bottom line is that we all bleed and heavily too after birth.
Those dainty little tampons and pads do not work with the afterbirth bleeding and are highly discouraged as tampons can introduce bacteria into the uterus which is still healing giving the woman extra issues to deal with. This is where one needs to utilize giant maternity thunder pads or cotton wool when all else fails. This truly unpleasant bout of periods is lochia which lasts as much as three long weeks.
According to the bump, it is normal to experience gushes of blood when breastfeeding or lying down. This is probably the hardest part of giving birth because with all the things a new mother has to deal with, she finds herself having to deal with change after change of thunder pads which combined with the baby diapers can be one diaper too many.
9. Messy Nether Regions
The woman who thinks her lady business will spring back to what it was ones the baby is born, is quite mistaken. If one goes through an episiotomy or even a natural tear, the reality of what is going on down there is horrible and so much worse than what she would expect. In the first week or so, the woman will be dealing with stitches and swollen nether regions.
This mess will make the woman go through bouts of acute pain starting with the fact that she will experience incontinence for a while before her ‘breaks’ start working right. She will, therefore, require a lot more trips to the bathroom to pee and with this peeing comes burning and not just mild burning, real, out of this world kind of burning akin to a UTI.
The good news is that there are remedies meant to alleviate this pain in the form of natural elixirs like sitz baths, water bottles, cups of warm, salty water and frozen peas that a woman can squirt in as she pees. even though we cannot authoritatively promise that this traditional remedies will relieve the pain, they do make peeing a little bearable and one doesn’t have to avoid the bathroom in dread.
8. You’re still fat
The other misconception perpetrated by the media and personalities like Kim Kardashian and her ilk is the bouncing back theory where a woman gets home from the hospital looking like she had gone for a holiday at the beach. When a woman who went for nine months of pregnancy and gained a ton of weight comes out for that first baby and mommy first public appearance looking like a million dollars then we find ourselves seriously questioning the fairness in the world.
Here is the reality, unless one gets a tummy tuck during a C-Section, gets home and takes a miracle herb that sucks up all the fat and squishes all the parts that had shifted, then she will still be fat. Thinking that that little black dress at the back of her wardrobe will miraculously fit her after she has given birth to that 8-pound baby is nothing but a fallacy. After giving birth the weight is still there and the stomach still looks like she is in her second trimester.
That little black dress will take a while before it fits and it may never fit. The first week is especially bad as the uterus will still not have contracted and until it does, it is maternity clothes for you.
7. All the Emotions
Childbirth takes a toll on a woman both emotionally and physically. The nightmare that is childbirth that we think we have control of that we have spent hours in birth class for and watched all the birthing videos including watching goats at the farm giving birth and we tell ourselves ‘uh uh, that’s easy, I can totally do that: all don’t do anything to scratch the surface of what one goes through during childbirth.
According to the cosmopolitan, Even after the baby comes and it is time to go home, one will find tears in her eyes as she tries to come to terms with what she just went through. the roller coaster ride that comes with hormones is truly not easy to deal with. From sessions of acute bliss to bouts of feeling helpless and crying your eyes out, the feelings that come after childbirth are a real nightmare for some women.
While it is quite normal to have the afterbirth boo hoos, and not everyone will sink into depression just because she sheds a tear or two, the worst thing is, if left unchecked, these emotions these emotions can lead to postpartum depression. In the end, taking one day at a time will make childbirth a little easier and it will sort the emotional baggage.
6. Missing Hair
A woman’s self-esteem takes a beating during pregnancy when she truly feels and looks fat, imagine her disappointment on getting out of the maternity ward and not being able to fit into that dress or that pair of jeans that used to lose pre-pregnancy. As if all the parts that have decided to conspire against her are not enough, then comes the part where the woman wakes up one morning only to notice that she has some hair missing.
Please note that this is the luscious locks that were truly gorgeous due to all those hormones the baby in the bun brought. Some women even find that their hair gets thicker and longer than it has ever been so losing this locks can be quite devastating for her. This is a bad side effect of all the hormones in a woman’s body and the nastiest side effect yet.
Some women find that they find relief from this one by keeping Tehri hair a lot looser which will prevent breaking as well as avoiding overtreatment. The bottom line is, hair falls for most women post pregnancy and it falls even more for those women who choose to breastfeed.
5. Leaking Tatas
Breastfeeding or formula feeding is entirely a woman’s choice even though in some instances the woman truly cannot produce enough milk to feed her child. Breastfeeding we assume should come naturally to a woman after all; women were made with a nurturing nature and inherent breastfeeding skill right, wrong. BreastfeedingBreastfeeding is not easy and it by no way comes naturally to anyone. In fact, for most women, it is the most frustrating experience.
The first day or two will be spent with the birth attendants squeezing your boobs to see if milk is coming, then you will be asked to put the baby to the breast and let her suck the milk out of whatever hole it is hiding in, and when the milk eventually comes, it really comes for some people. That nightie you are so fond of has to go out the window because each night will be spent in a wet mess.
This is where those old tees come in handy. It is not only the nights that are a mess, the strangest thing is that when the baby cries, for some crazy reason, the tatas leak, and not just a leak, it is more like the spraying of jets for those of us who are akin to freshian cows. Before the body learns to regulate its flow, the embarrassing leaks remain.
4. Husband Resentment
During those long nights when the baby keeps wailing and you have rocked and burped, pleaded and bargained with the child to fall asleep all to no avail, watching your partner lying in bed without a care in the world is enough to make a woman take a hammer and keep hitting and all the new mothers in the world would understand it. Nature can be cruel.
The woman has to carry the child for those very long, tedious and mostly unbearable months, give birth to the child, breastfeed the child and be the one to cater for his every need but still the child comes out favoring the father in every feature. It does take away the need for a DNA test but this is enough to make one truly resentful. I mean if the child is going to look like him he should at least suffer through the bedtime routine.
Most of this resentful feelings are as a result of fatigue as well as lack of sleep but the other part is hormonal related. Ones the woman rests or gets into the groove of things, the resentment does end but for most women, the struggle is real and most marriages have broken post-baby.
3. You Will Be Hot and Not In a Good Way
During pregnancy, getting hot and sweaty is a normal thing, after all, the woman is carrying a tone of weight and the hormones in the body are messing up the body to no end but the craziest thing is that even after pregnancy, the hormones will still be heating the body up. This is not just the normal ‘ I need the fan’ kind of hot. No this is really hot with sticky skin kind of hot.
These hot flashes are all as a result of hormones and it is like the body is still not aware that the body is no longer hosting anyone. According to made for mums, when a woman starts producing milk, her body goes into another phase of changes brought about by an increase in the prolactin hormone. The woman’s body temperature also goes up by half a degree when her milk comes in.
This all so pleasant change happens about three days post birth and even though women are different, most women go through this irritating side effect. Even for those women who choose to bottle feed, the body still tends to produce milk and before the milk disappears, the body will be hot. The heat does disappear after about seven days and for the truly unlucky women, it can go beyond six weeks.
2. Hard Boobs
The first week home with the baby is the most tiring and yet exciting time of a woman’s life. The feeling of love and the hormonal high that comes with childbirth is perfect until the baby starts to cry incessantly every night or starts demanding a feed each hour and we start praying that for one hour, just one hour, the child could sleep and let us rest a bit. If by some miracle he does sleep and we watch him sleeping so peacefully and we can eventually log onto WhatsApp to see what other people are doing the only to realize that it been two hours since he last fed and we look at the child and decide there is no way we are waking him up to feed.
So we get to enjoy an extra twenty minutes of pure bliss but wait a minute, the tatas are programmed to release milk to nourish the child and according to pregnant chicken, skipping a feeding turns the woman’s breasts into hard heavy stones that require eitherrequire either pumping or continuous feeding to drain. Not draining them is quite risky and can turn to infections like mastitis as well as clogged milk ducts.
1. Scary Number 2
There are no two ways about this one. the first trip to the toilet after birth is the worst experience a woman will ever face and the first post-partum poop is going to be something she remembers for the rest of her life. It does not matter how the child came into this world, a c-section or normal birth, she will still have to go through the toilet nightmare. According to the Huffington PostPost, the best thing a woman can do for herself after the birth of her child is to get some medication in the form of stool softeners, cooling pads as well as painkillers which believe it or not she will need.
The other neat trick is to apply some counter pressure on the front using a frozen pad or frozen diaper. This pressure will help the woman go number two without ripping something. The one thing that truly helps make the first poop easier to pass is by avoiding fatty foods as this are the biggest culprits that will make that first trip to the loo a nightmare. Taking lots of vegetables and water will make this easier. The good news is that after that first horror, the next trips will be a lot smoother.