You’ve done your fair share of obsessive research and know what you’re getting yourself and your hooha into and it’s all worth it because baby will be here soon! Here’s the next chapter- the postpartum phase- the kind of stuff nobody talks about because, well, it’s pretty scarring and and a little gross.
1. Stitches Down Under: You may already know that episiotomies aren’t a routine procedure, but even if you aren’t the receiver of an incision you might still need stitches. It’s pretty common to have minor vaginal tearing, especially if this is your first child. If you’ve opted for an epidural then you will be lucky enough not to feel the incision or tear or even the stitches. After and unmedicated childbirth, your doctor or midwife will give you a shot down there (you read that right) to numb the area before the stitches. There is no other way of putting this, so, yes… It hurts.
2. Jelly-Belly: Your postpartum pooch will feel like a punching bag as doctors and nurses get your watermelon sized belly to shrink to the size of a cantaloupe. For the first 2 hours after delivery, your nurse will massage your belly every 15 minutes (oxytocin also helps) to aid uterine contraction. This will also be a painful procedure if you haven’t received epidural.
3. Shedding: You may have luscious locks during pregnancy, thicker, glossier and an all round gorgeous mane during pregnancy. After birth, your hair will go back to normal (what goes up must come down!). It may seem like you’re losing hair more than normal, but its just your hair that was held back from falling during pregnancy. Now that your estrogen levels have dropped and returned to normal rates, your hair is just trying to catch up. According to studies, the shedding phase lasts 1-5 months following pregnancy so the good news is that it’s only temporary. The rise in shedding will occur around 3-4 months after birth and it will stabilize within 6-12 months.
4. Varicose Veins and Swollen Piggies: You may have experienced puffy and swollen legs during pregnancy which will decrease very quickly after the baby is on board. If twitchiness and swelling persists postpartum, walking can provide some relief. Postpartum weight loss can improve varicose and spider veins but unfortunately, they will never go away completely.
5. Constipation: Struggling with constipation during pregnancy sets the pace for constipation postpartum (sorry). If someone’s at the door but you don’t think you can answer, a high fiber diet is your new best friend. Plenty of water, milk and juices will ease the pain.
6. Night Sweats: Apart from sweating quite a bit during your first few weeks of postpartum, you might experience “tremendous night sweats” Dr Michele Hakakha, M.D., FACOG, an OB/GYN in Beverly Hills, California, and author of Expecting 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy. The massive drop in estrogen levels will cause a change in hormones and tamper your body’s temperature regulation. Things will be back to normal within a month or two.