Many people have their birth plans mapped out: where they want to deliver, how they want to deliver, and who they want in the room with them at the time. Though our Doctors and/or Midwives run down a list of "what ifs" during the delivery, many do not discuss what could happen after the baby has been born. Whether it's an odd pain from nursing or scar tissue that is not healing quite right from an episiotomy, there can be a number of things that can creep up postpartum that we don't know until they occur.
Read below, as we have some warning signs that could happen after baby's arrival. Always use your Mom Gut in case you feel as if something is not totally right. This could be a physical or mental ache and pain. But, most people can notice when something is not right. And, there's no harm in checking in with your medical professional even for the smallest concerns.
10 SEVERE STOMACH CRAMPING
Cramping is not unusual after you have naturally delivered a baby. Especially if you've chosen to breastfeed, you will likely realize you cramp the most at or during your let-down. Cramping is a sign that your body is recovering. These cramps may feel like minor labor pains, such as small contractions. But if the pain is unbearable, it could be an indicator that something is not right.
Especially if you notice them getting progressively worse, contact your medical professional. They will likely perform ultrasounds/external and/or internal exams to further discuss what issue could possibly be arising.
9 BRIGHT RED BLOOD
Postpartum bleeding is a period-like experience that may last up to 6 weeks after you've given birth. Many people presume only people who vaginally deliver experience the postpartum shedding, though it is an experience for those who have cesarean sections as well. If the parent has experienced either an episiotomy (usually performed only in the case of emergency) or a vaginal tear (highly more natural and likely), the parent may experience some light, bright red blood in their pads/adult diapers. This is normal.
If you are experiencing a heavy, bright red or pink discharge and/or blood, contact your medical professional. Postpartum bleeding should lessen over the progressing days and should never get heavier as your recovery progresses. So, keep an eye out for any unusual sign that something could be wrong.
8 BLEEDING NIPPLES
We hate to warn you: bleeding nipples can happen; especially for first-time parents who choose to breastfeed. Breastfeeding can cause cracked and irritated nipples. But, if nipples become cracked, irritation can lead to inflammation and infection. Ensure you are hydrating your nipples as often as you feed. This could mean you're using nipple cream every hour or every two minutes. This doesn't matter.
Ensure you are keeping your nipples slathered in lanolin or nipple-cream to ensure no bleeding nipples, which could turn into infection. If you are having issues breastfeeding or find the latch incredibly painful, contact a lactation consultant. They may save you from giving up or putting up with pain that you don't have to.
7 BRUISES AROUND BREASTS
A common sign of mastitis is bruising around the nipple and/or breast. Many times, mothers may notice a finger-print-like bruise around their breast. They assume it's from the child. Within hours or days, flu-like symptoms arise. The result of a blocked duct, whether felt or not, could be the infection of the breast: mastitis.
Mastitis tends to affect people who are breastfeeding more than not. But, it can affect women directly after delivery due to hormone changes. If any odd symptoms arise, contact your medical professional to perhaps begin treatment such as an antibiotic.
6 INCREDIBLY LETHARGIC
Becoming a new parent absolutely brings on a new level of exhaustion. Not only have you delivered a baby, but you have suddenly lost a lot of weight within hours. The changes to your body are so unfathomable that every experience is vastly different. If you are feeling incredibly lethargic, to the point where your mind feels wickedly foggy and you feel more tired than expected, contact your doctor.
This could be a sign of Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, or mineral deficiencies. Note: the word "could". You know your body best; and, if something feels "off" listen to it and go get checked. It could be something as minor (yet potentially serious) as a sudden iron deficiency.
5 URINARY INCONTINENCE
Urinary Incontinence in women during pregnacy is common due to the baby's weight on the bladder. Whether it's a sudden urge when you laugh, when the baby kicks or when you sneeze, it happens to the best of us. Urinary Incontinence after you've delivered the baby is also a more than common symptom of postpartum experiences.
Some women believe it's just something they now need to accept. But, it is something that can absolutely be taken care of by a pelvic floor physiotherapist. If you experience Urinary Incontinence postpartum, one: you are not alone and two: you don't have to live like this forever. There are professionals that can help strengthen your core and keep your pelvic strength steady enough to reduce, if not, eliminate this issue altogether.
4 "HORRIBLE" THOUGHTS
There are many reasons why delivery can trigger a depressive kind of mental state. At times, some mothers don't even know that they're in a depression until they've come out. For some, friends and family can tell that the parent seems a "bit off" or "more down" than usual.
If you are experiencing obsessive, negative thoughts, don't be afraid to be honest and vulnerable by sharing your experience with your doctor. You will not be the first- we assure you. There is a difference between Baby Blues and Depression. The stigma is absolutely dying out; it should never have been there in the first place. Treating mental pain is just as important as a physical one. If you are not feeling well, physically or mentally, there is no shame in asking for some help. It's the bravest thing that you could possibly do; for you and your child.
Fever is an indication of infection. Whether you wake up with night sweats (which is common postpartum) or with a hot temperature, ensure that you do not develop a fever during the postpartum recovery time.
If you do, reach out to a medical professional for assistance. This can be caused by many things and can be a sign of a plethora of illnesses. Or, it could be something as minor as a random flu you picked up while delivering your child at the hospital. Play it safe and get seen if a fever arises.
2 BAD SMELLING VAGINAL DISCHARGE
You have now experienced the wild amount of bodily fluids that will exit you during delivery. You (should) now be completely desensitized when you read the title, "Bad Smelling Vaginal Discharge".
Yes, this can absolutely happen to anyone. Even during a regular period in your life, any time you have a foul-smelling discharge, it's an indication that something is up. Postpartum discharge is not different. It can smell bad if something is wrong. It could be a sign of infection or disease, but we advise you not to google. Call your Doctor and/or Midwife to check everything out to ensure you're healthy.
1 VOMITING AND/OR NAUSEA
During delivery, did you experience one or two of these things? Well, though incredibly normal that contractions can cause an immense amount of vomiting, diarrhea and/or nausea, those symptoms should have subsided once the baby arrived.
If you are experiencing these symptoms postpartum for more than 24 hours, you should speak with your Doctor. These symptoms could be signs of infection or disease postpartum. But, it could also be a sign of dehydration, stress and/or flu. Again, these symptoms could be something incredibly minor. But, they could also be red flags that should have you going in for a more thorough check-up.