What to Expect After Giving Birth

Congratulations mama! You have made it through pregnancy, labor, and delivery and have introduced your bundle of joy to the world. You’re still laying in the crinkly hospital bed reeling from all of the excitement and the love in the air. You may feel as though your feelings are going a mile a minute and that is totally normal.

For all those who are not yet at this stage, we are ready to equip you with all the knowledge you need when marching into the hospital delivery ward! You may be wondering what happens to your body (and mind!) post-delivery and how will you feel now that your baby is finally in the real world. We’re here to tell you what really happens after giving birth and how to get through your first couple hours and first few days with your newest member of the family.

Adrenaline high?

After giving birth, it may take a while for you to feel the full impact of what just happened. Labor and delivery can take a lot out of a body and can result in significant discomfort. However, some mamas report not feeling any aches or pains immediately after delivery. Instead of being plain lucky, the lack of discomfort is attributed to the massive adrenaline high many new mothers experience post-birth. That adrenaline high can last the most of your first day after delivering your baby. If you are the lucky few who experience this, make sure to make the most of it and shower if your doctor recommends it. The adrenaline rush can also contribute to the blurring of memories, many mamas don’t explicitly remember all moments immediately after birth.

Pooping is important

Who would’ve thought nurses post-delivery would treat you similar to the way you may treat a newly potty-trained toddler! Pooping after birth is actually very important and can be downright scary if you’ve experienced tearing or stitches during delivery. Make sure to encourage your bowel movement by moving around and eating fiber-rich foods as soon as your doctor clears you to do so. Many doctors give patients a perineum bottle to fill with warm water and spray into your perineum while you use the toilet. The water washes away the lochia or leftover blood and tissue from pregnancy and keeps your stitches clean.

To latch or not to latch

Your first time nursing your baby can be extremely stressful. Many women struggle with latching in the hospital post-delivery as a result of a combination of nerves, pain, and anxiety around nursing. If you experience this hopeless feeling you are definitely not alone. While there are many nursing how-to’s online, make sure to utilize the nurses and lactation consultants available to you and ask for their advice. Keep in mind that your breasts will be sore in a few days’ time from nursing and baby’s use. You may want to ask your partner to preemptively stock up on cold gel packs and moisturizing compresses to tide you over.

Sleep is for the wicked

You know what they say about sleep being for the wicked, except now you wish you were part of the exclusive club. First-night post-baby, many women find they can’t sleep due to the raging hormones and adrenaline rush they have been feeling all day. You also may be awakened by nurses checking vitals, asking about bowel movements, and checking for even more vitals all night post-delivery. From here on out, steady sleep may be a thing of the past, at least for new parents. Your new bundle of joy will need regular feeding and burping at all hours of the night. However, many new moms savor the mid-night snuggles with their little one. It doesn’t last forever!

You’re not crazy- your hormones are 

Post-birth is an extremely emotional time for most new moms. You may experience hot flashes, mood swings, and extreme bouts of emotional anxiety. Know that this may be very uncomfortable and at times extremely inconvenient but is totally and one hundred percent normal. Packing a light throw blanket may help for when you experience chills and packing light cotton pajamas for post-delivery may help when you go through intense hot flashes. Be rest assured your hormones will subside after some time and you will be back to normal.

Shoshi S.
Shoshi is a graduate from Stern College for Women in New York City. Her areas of interest include policy, non-profit organizations, and administration. During winter 2018, she was a White House intern. Shoshi has also interned at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles and at Save the Children in New York. As a millennial, Shoshi brings a young and fresh perspective to the worlds of pregnancy and lactation.

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