Giving birth is tough...really tough! After forty weeks of growing a human inside your tummy, you have to push him out. Your poor little body goes through a lot--and surprise--it isn't over yet! The first month or two postpartum are going to be interesting. Things will happen to your body that seem like cruel and unusual punishment.
These tortuous happenings often come as an unpleasant surprise, because you spend all of your time reading and preparing for the baby, you never knew you needed to read up on what might happen to you afterward. It took your body forty weeks to grow that baby, and it will take some time to return to normal.
Here are some strange things that you can expect after giving birth as your body returns to its pre-pregnancy state.
10 You Bleed....A LOT!
It was nice not having a period for nine months, huh. Did anyone tell you that you'd bleed enough to make up for all of those missed periods in the weeks after you deliver?
Your body has to get rid of all that extra blood and tissue it no longer needs. The worst part will be when you stand up after sitting or lying down, you'll feel the gush. You and baby will both be sporting diapers for a bit. It is best to just embrace it because it will last up to six weeks. Those monthly periods don't seem so bad now!
9 You will have Painful Cramping and Contractions
Wait a second. You've had the baby. Why are you getting contractions now?
Unfortunately, you will get contractions after birth that hurt just as bad. They are a good sign though as it means your uterus is contracting back into its pre-pregnancy size, and that means your tummy is shrinking! Breastfeeding helps speed the process along, so you might notice the contractions occurring while baby is suckling.
If this pain is too much, talk to your doctor about medications that you can take while you breastfeed and adjust over the next few weeks.
8 You Cry as Much as the Baby
Your hormones are going nuts. You are sleep deprived. Every inch of your body aches. On top of it all, you have a newborn baby that cries for no apparent reason around the clock. It is no wonder you are crying right along with her.
Postpartum mood swings and feelings of sadness or anxiety are normal, but if you ever feel completely overwhelmed or have a desire to hurt yourself or the baby, it is time to seek professional help. You may have postpartum depression, and it can be serious. The good news is, the sooner you seek help for your PPD, the sooner you'll get better.
So, if you feel a little weepy, don't worry about it. A lot of new moms feel like you do and spend some time crying over how overwhelmed they feel until they get the hang of it, or some sleep.
7 Your Boobs Will Leak
Somewhere around the three to five day mark, your milk will come in. You might wonder how you will know when it happens, but you will know. Your breasts will swell up, become as hard as a rock, and leak all over the place. They will leak at night, any time the baby cries, and at random. Invest in some breast pads.
If you're one of those lucky women whose milk comes in before the baby arrives, all you have to do is get those breast pads earlier. And don't worry, you don't have to save the milk that your leaking, your body is just really ready to have this baby, and when the baby comes, you'll be able to start breastfeeding right away.
6 You Will Have Night Sweats
You will literally sweat enough to soak your bedsheets. Your body needs to get rid of all the excess fluid that built up during pregnancy. Sweating is an easy way to purge that fluid. We aren't sure why it happens while you are sleeping, but that is when it tends to make its appearance. There is nothing quite like waking up covered in sweat and breast milk!
Being a mother is glorious! Try to focus on the fact that losing all that fluid means that the number on the scale is dropping. Besides, you'll likely not feel like leaving the house until you get the hang of being a new mom. And by the time you do, most of the sweaty nights will be behind you, the leaky boobs though, probably not going to stop for a bit longer. Sorry!
5 You Might Pee Your Pants
Do you remember all that pushing you did while giving birth? We know that you're trying hard to forget, but it explains why you might be peeing your pants like a toddler going through potty training. Your pelvic floor muscles were put to the test during labor and delivery, and it will take some time for them to recover.
In the meantime, you may leak urine from time to time. Try not to worry or be embarrassed. You are not alone. Kegel exercises will help strengthen those muscles so start them as soon as you can after birth.
4 Going Pee Will Take You 30 Minutes
The times that you do make it to the toilet without peeing yourself will not be pleasant either. Sitting down on the hard toilet will be painful, peeing will be painful, and cleaning up afterwards will be painful. You will have some combination of swelling, bleeding, stitches, and hemorrhoids.
Each time you use the potty, you will need to use your spray bottle and witch hazel. Go slow. Let your hubby handle the crying baby while you tend to your wounds.
You should give him a heads up and let know that this could take a while so he doesn't freak out when you're using the toilet for longer than he thinks you should.
3 You will Feel "Baby Kicks"
Hang on a second. Did you really have twins in there? Did the doctor forget one inside? Why do you feel the baby kicking inside your tummy when you are holding him on the outside?
No, you aren't crazy. There is not a really good medical reason for it, but many mothers feel phantom kicking for months after giving birth. Chalk it up to muscle memory or another postpartum weirdness. In fact it might even be years later and you may from time to time feel those kicks.
2 You May Get Cavities
Being pregnant is kind of like having a parasite. Those little growing fetuses literally suck whatever they need from your body. If they need more calcium than you are taking in, guess what? They will steal it from your teeth and bones leaving you with cavities in your teeth. Oh the joys of being a mother!
So while some dental procedures are best left till after you've had your wee little one, remember the importance of keeping your dental hygiene up during and after your pregnancy.
1 You Will Eventually Love your Body Again
The mirror likely will not be your friend for awhile after giving birth. You may not recognize yourself between the excess weight, messy hair, and pajama pants. Your body just did an amazing thing. You grew a human! You will eventually love your body again including every little stretch mark. You are awesome, and you look amazing Mama!
If you can't fit into your favorite skinny jeans right away (only a very tiny percentage of women will be able to do this), don't worry about it, you'll get there. In the meantime accessories and flowy tops will stop you from looking out of shape, and a belly band can help you stomach muscles get back to their former glory.