In our previous post, we took a look at what expectant mothers can look forward to directly after giving birth. Although not every upcoming experience can be said to be the most pleasant, we are certain that the overall joy most every mother has after giving birth to new life means much more than the shakes that you might be dealing with for a few days after the event. We also touched on the temperature fluctuations mothers have after giving birth, which is not something that usually goes away within the first couple of days. We discussed the significance of consistent skin-to-skin contact between mother and child, in addition to the first feeding almost directly after the birth. For more information, you can check out the full post called “What To Expect Directly After Birth”.

Our post today is in similar territory, although not directly overlapping. We’ll be taking a look at what most mothers can expect when they take the baby home. In the days, weeks, and months that follow, it’s important you have the relational and professional support you need to feel secure and confident in what is happening.

That’s why we are here for you at Deanna D. Midwifery, the Tri-Cities’ Top Rated WHNP and Midwife Clinic. It’s often the case that many mothers spend so much time focusing on what is to come in the days and weeks preceding the big event that the actual raising of the newborn becomes something of an inadvertent afterthought. Of course, this isn’t always the case, as any mother working with our prenatal clinic here at Deanna D. Midwifery will always have the educational tools required to feel as prepared as possible. It should be said, however, that no matter how many tips you read about online or books you read on your own time will guarantee you feel totally prepared. This is okay. No one feels completely ready. But that isn’t cause for concern. Let’s see if we can add to your growing lexicon of terms and concepts as we look into what you can possibly expect in the days, weeks, and months after giving birth. We’ll also recommend you do a few things that can often get lost in the shuffle during the hustle and bustle of the first few weeks after having given birth. And trust us, your future self will thank you!

Recovering From Birth

Okay, so you just went through a seriously intense event in the form of giving birth to a living human being! You are probably a crazy blend of emotions and feelings at this point – a unique blend of excitement, nervousness, quiet joy, and certainly exhaustion. So how do you take care of yourself emotionally and physically, while you are still able to successfully raise an infant? That’s what we aim to help you with at our prenatal care clinic at Deanna D. Midwifery, to help you be equipped for exactly that. Luckily, this post will help point you in the right direction as well.

Recovery

Both you and your newborn will need to recover after the birthing process. While you are both doing so, bonding through skin to skin contact and breastfeeding is important, which will help revitalize both the mother and the child. One recommendation here is to limit “visiting hours” to just a few hours of the day. You might get pressure from parents, siblings, or close friends about wanting to spend hours on end with the little one, but that isn’t what is best for either of you. You’ll need to hold your ground, even if it isn’t very fun to do so, and tell them that your wee one needs their rest, just like you do.

You also have a great excuse to have your partner clean up around the house a little bit, and maybe even cook or do laundry while they’re at it. The point is that you need to pace yourself by listening to your body. Try to rest while the baby rests, because their schedule is the trump card at this point.

Body Changes

When working with a local, certified midwife like Deanna D., you will have already learned about some of the intense physical changes that will occur as a part of your body’s natural recovery process.

  • Your feet and legs might have swollen significantly. Luckily, you can reduce the extent of this issue by simply elevating your legs while you are resting.
  • If you aren’t in a great place digestively, make sure you are getting enough fiber, water, and fresh fruits.
  • Cramping that feels menstrual in nature is fairly common, especially if you are already breastfeeding. Your breast milk might not even have come in the first few days, but you still might feel uncomfortable.
  • Your vagina will certainly need some rest and attention after the intensity of the past few days. If your affected area has torn at all, talk to your certified midwife, WHNP, or physician about applying topical lidocaine to numb the regions that might burn. If you have swelling, sitz baths and anti-inflammatory medication might be a good idea too. Oh, and you should expect a discharge called lochia to be a thing for the first few weeks. It’s totally normal, too, so don’t worry about it. It’s just tissue and blood, the stuff that lined your uterus during pregnancy, leaving the body naturally.
  • Consider talking to your Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner or doctor about starting a kegel routine. Of course it depends on your delivery experience and where you current health levels are at, but starting a kegel routine somewhat earlier than you may have expected can have very positive effects on issues like accidentally leaking urine and unwanted pelvic pressure. Both issues are common directly after birth, and exercising your pelvic floor muscles can certainly help accelerate those problems going away.  

Emotional Recovery

Physical recovery takes longer for some mothers than others. Understanding a range of newfound emotions can take much longer than any bodily health issues as well. It really just depends on the person in question. We hear about postpartum depression, but most mothers don’t feel clinically depressed after they’ve had their little one. Nevertheless, having a newborn means severe life-changes for any mother. At a bare minimum, you aren’t going to have the freedom you once did. Identifying and analyzing these issues is the first step to making sure they don’t have a negative effect on the situation.

Look out for a future post which goes into greater detail about postpartum depression and other emotionally based discussions. For now, it’s important to remember that not all feelings are negative when it comes to how the mother feels in the days and weeks after giving birth. Many of us are a strange blend of proud, amazed, scared, and everywhere in between. Don’t be afraid to embrace all of your feelings during this period, as it only comes once (or, perhaps, a few) in your life.

Deanna D. Midwifery

If you are in Pasco, Richland, Kennewick, or even closeby, we are the midwife clinic of choice. We have a passion for taking on and understanding the unique needs of our individual clients. Learn more about Deanna D. Midwifery today!