Postpartum Care: 47 Essential FAQs Answered!
Hey ladies! Here we are again for another round of FAQs. Below you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions about postpartum care. That includes postpartum depression, fitness, hair loss, postpartum bleeding, incontinence and more. I hope that these answers prove to be of help to you, sis. Happy reading!
1. What can I expect within the first week after childbirth?
The first week home after childbirth will look very different for every mother. There are a few common characteristics you can expect will find you in week one. I just love Angela at Mommy-diary.com who put it quite simply:
1. You’ll Be Extremely Tired: You will experience extreme fatigue both physically and mentally. With a newborn baby around, sleep can be hard to come by – especially if you’re a breastfeeding mama. Baby is quite hungry for the first few months of life, and you are their source of food, so when they’re hungry, that means you gotta mosey out of bed and open up shop.
2. You Will Still Look Pregnant: Most women probably assume that once the baby is out, their bellies will go back to normal. What really happens? You look pregnant (like six or seven months pregnant) for a while. Most women who engage in regular exercise can get back to a “new normal” about six months post-delivery.
3. There Will Be a Lot of Pain: Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a c-section, you will experience pain. Vaginal births cause swelling, potential tears, cramping and so on. If you have a C-section? Well, you’re healing from being cut open and getting stitches, along with the regular postpartum recovery symptoms – so, pain is unfortunately a sure thing either way.
4. You Will Need Help: I personally went into my third trimester of pregnancy convinced that I would do all the baby caring myself (in addition to my husband), but it didn’t take long post-delivery to realize that I NEEDED HELP. Remember, it’s okay to need help. Trust us, you will need help for your sanity and rest, sister.
5. Breastfeeding Will Begin Immediately: When Angela says immediately, she means immediately. Like, you just pushed baby out and potentially within the first 5-minutes you may be expected to begin the journey of learning to breastfeed. Personally, my son came out searching for something to suckle on, so I got to it right away.
2. What is postpartum depression?
Simply put, postpartum depression is depression suffered by mothers after giving birth to a child.
3. What causes postpartum depression?
It’s generally a mixture of fatigue, the psychological adjustment to motherhood and all the hormonal changes going on inside new moms.
4. How long does postpartum depression last and is it normal?
Most women begin to experience postpartum depression within the first four weeks post-delivery. On average it can last up to 30 weeks, but some women experience it for more than 7 months (25% to 50% of new mothers).
Postpartum depression is normal, and most women experience it. There are many women who do not recognize their symptoms as postpartum depression, but they are indeed affected by it. Postpartum depression comes in many different forms, so it may look very different from one mother to another. It can show up as “laziness,” a disinterest in your newborn, a disconnect from your spouse, random fits of crying, anxiety and fear. The list can literally go on and on. Every woman is different, including you – that’s why it’s important to be aware of yourself and how you’re feeling after childbirth. I encourage you to seek help, tell someone what you’re thinking and feeling – don’t endure it alone. I promise, it does get better.
5. How can I combat postpartum depression naturally?
Postpartum depression is often treated through prescription drugs, but it is possible to combat postpartum depression naturally:
1. E X E R C I S E: Something as simple as getting outside and walking can make a huge difference on your postpartum experience. Exercising helps to give us the feel-good boost we need to fight against depression.
2. N U T R I T I O N: When we have deficiencies in our daily diet it can promote depression, which is what we’re trying to avoid. So, get your diet in order, eat foods that are rich in nutrients – you’ll literally be happier for it!
3. V I T A M I N D: There is nothing like some good ol’ rays of sunshine to turn that frown upside down. Vitamin D is so important for our overall health, so go sunbathe or something.
4. S L E E P: I know when people say, “sleep when baby sleeps” we usually all just roll our eyes, but I think this advice is 100% valid within the first few weeks post-delivery. Though it sounds like a silly idea when you’ve got a newborn, trust me and just do it for at least the first month, it will help.
PLEASE NOTE: If you’re suffering from severe postpartum depression, I do encourage you to reach out to your doctor. There is nothing wrong with seeking medical attention if that attention is well-needed.
6. When can I work out after pregnancy?
Usually it’s okay to start working out a few days after giving birth if you had a healthy pregnancy and a normal vaginal delivery – but seek approval from your doctor first. Also, be sure to listen to your body. If you’re still in a lot of pain, or you’re just extremely uncomfortable, perhaps keep resting and let your ambition rest awhile longer. Generally, women who undergo a c-section are advised to wait six to eight weeks before returning to working out – again, seek your doctor’s opinion.
7. What exercises can I do when I’m ready?
- W A L K I N G is a low-intensity workout that allows you to start moving and get back in shape (unless of course you power walk like these gals —> heheha!). You can grab a stroller, plop baby in and get to walking – remember to keep your core tight as you walk
- L O W – I M P A C T S P O R T S like swimming or riding a stationary bike. Do these activities for 10 minutes at a time, for a total of at least 30-minutes. Do as often as you can.
- F I T N E S S C L A S S E S – Perhaps you’ll need some motivation to get going, so consider joining fitness classes to keep you accountable.
- A S K A F R I E N D to join you on walks a few days a week. This way when you’re not feeling up to it, you’ll go through with it anyway because you know you’ve got someone waiting on you.
- I N – H O M E W O R K O U T – Purchase some hand-weights and while baby’s sleeping or chilling do some leg and arm workouts, lunges, jumping jacks, sit ups, push ups, etc.
8. What should I do prior to working out?
- Make sure you dress in loose fitted clothing – if you’re still not entirely healed down there this helps
- Use a bra with support and fits right – sometimes our boobs are just bigger than they were before pregnancy, so make sure you get bras that fit you well now
- If you’re a breastfeeding woman, then express any milk you’ve got before your workout. This helps to reduce the chances of being uncomfortable or becoming engorged
9. What are the benefits of exercise postpartum?
- It helps strengthen and tone your core muscles (a.k.a. abs) – bye bye flabby gabby!
- It boosts your energy – and Lord knows we need energy in the weeks after baby (okay, let’s be real, we need it for all of motherhood)
- Can help to prevent postpartum depression – working out helps us feel good about ourselves and increases our self-confidence which can help to regulate any oncoming postpartum depression.
- Helps you sleep better – when you’re tired out from motherhood, wife-ing and working out? Best believe sleep will come easy!
- It relieves stress – to me there’s just nothing as stress-relieving as a good work out
10. How much exercise is okay right after baby?
Try to get a minimum of two and a half hours of moderate cardio every week in the first few weeks you begin exercising. So, go on a walk, increase your heart rate and sweat it out.
11. How often can I do strength training exercises?
In addition to cardio, you should strength train at least two days a week. This allows your body to create muscle, tone and bounce back from pregnancy better.
12. How can I tighten my stomach after having a baby?
- D R I N K W A T E R – the more hydrated your skin is, the more it elastic it can be. Water also helps burn calories more efficiently (I even read that drinking 17oz of water in one sitting can help to boost metabolism)
- B R E A S T F E E D as much as baby allows – breastfeeding literally turns your calories into milk which helps you lose fat (please note: some women do experience weight gain during breastfeeding). Studies have also shown that women who breastfeed lost their baby-weight faster than those who don’t. Read more about 44 Breastfeeding FAQs!
- E X E R C I S E – Just like exercise was important during pregnancy, its very important for postpartum care, too. Start with walking and/or yoga, as you heal. As your doctor approves, pick up the cardio and add in abdomen workouts.
- E A T P R O T E I N – Protein contains collagen, and collagen will help you firm your skin. The average person should consume about 50g of protein/day, but this can vary depending the person.
- E X F O L I A T E your skin – use a scrub on your stomach in the shower. It will increase blood circulation and blood flow and encourage healthy, new and elastic skin.
- M A S S A G E – Find creams that are rich in collagen, Vitamin E, C, K and A. When you apply it massage your stomach and do this twice a day.
- D O N ‘ T C R A S H D I E T – Reducing weight gradually helps your skin bounce back better because it gives it the time it needs to readjust. You also want to be aware of your daily diet because if you aren’t eating enough it can hurt your milk production.
- S T R E N G T H T R A I N – Once your doctor approves it, start strength training. This helps to encourage muscle contractions and reduces your body fat – which helps get tummy in order.
13. How soon after childbirth does your stomach tighten again?
This is different for every woman. If you were pretty active during your pregnancy, chances are your skin will bounce back rather quickly. On the other hand, if you weren’t too active, you may find it to be a little longer for you. But your genes, the amount of weight you gained, your body type and your bone structure (to name a few) also play a part. It’s been said that if you gained 30lbs or less during pregnancy and stayed active regularly you’ll probably get back into shape a lot faster.
14. What should I be eating after childbirth?
- Protein Powder/Supplements: Your body needs phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to heal and produce milk. Ora Ogranic protein powders are supposedly okay for breastfeeding ladies and they’re clean – protein’s also helpful for milk production
- Chickpeas: They’re high in zinc which helps your body heal, repair cells and build collagen.
- Oatmeal: All you endure and receive during childbirth can cause your body to slow down, so fiber helps boost the process. Oatmeal isn’t known for bloating or gas like some other high fiber options, so it’s the safest (and non-stinkiest) bet.
- Blueberries: With everything we pump into our bodies during childbirth, our bodies need antioxidant-rich foods to help clean it all out
- Red Peppers: High in vitamin C – helps produce collagen which helps to heal you after an incision or tear
- Shiitake Mushrooms: These ugly things help to increase immunity – helps heal body and keep you from getting sick – cause last thing you need is to get sick while breastfeeding a newborn
- Bananas: Bananas are rich in B-6 vitamin which is great for
15. What should I have at home for postpartum care?
Product links can be found below.
- B R E A S T P A D S
- N I P P L E C R E A M
- N U R S I N G B R A
- S Q U I R T B O T T L E
- M A X I P A D S
- D I S P O S A B L E U N D E R W E A R
- M A T T R E S S P A D (waterproof)
- S T O O L S O F T E N E R – let’s be honest, after pushing a baby out of your body the last thing you want to do is push poop out, too. So, help yourself out and get some stool softener. You may not need it (I didn’t), but it’s better to have it on hand in the case that you do. Make sure to consult with your doctor about what’s safe to take while breastfeeding
- H E M E R R O I D C R E A M
- M E D I C A T E D P A D S
- S I T Z B A T H – I mean, what’s more soothing than sitting in a tub of water when your body hurts and you feel like you’re dying? Fill your tub up with some warm water, plung yourself in there and relax sister.
- I C E P A C K – most folks have an icepack or two laying around their home, but if you don’t here’s an option that’s specific for postpartum care . Icepacks can help sooth the pain of swelling and just make ya feel good. Cold on vaginal pain = luxurious.
- B E L L Y W R A P – Although belly wraps aren’t proven to help tighten tummies post-birth, there’s a 50-50 shot that it actually does help. So, why not?
16. What are remedies to treat pain during urination after childbirth?
According to Carly at MommyonPurpose.com you should plop your booty further back on the toilet seat, and lean your body all the way forward (she touched her elbows on the ground – desperate times call for desperate measures, girl). This will cause your pee-stream to fall forward and down. If you’re thinking, “there’s no way I can do that number right now with the way I feel down there,” you’re fine. Just take a moment to yourself, pop in the shower and pee standing. Do what you’ve got to and don’t let the pee touch you. *thumbs up*
17. Is it possible to get rid of stretch marks?
As much as the lotion ads may claim, stretch marks do not go away – they only lighten. Creams and oils can help to make your skin look more smooth, but at the end of the day they do not get rid of stretch marks 100%. And hey, why would you want them entirely gone? They’re beautiful reminders of what your body did, and how good God was to bring you and baby through it.
18. How can I improve my stretch marks?
- Oil treatment with oils such as, olive oil, Vitamin E oil, Castor Oil, Essential oils
- Aloe Vera is good for so many darn things – this just happens to be one of them. It helps to heal your skin and soothe it, too. You can literally go to your local Mexican market, pick up some aloe vera leaves and get that stuff straight from the source
- Honey contains antiseptic properties that will help to reduce your marks.
- Egg Whites are known to be rich in protein and protein contains collagen.
- Cocoa Butter – it’s just awesome sauce for your skin.
- Sugar is super effective at exfoliating skin.
- Lemon Juice
- Apricot Paste
- Potato Juice: You might not want to smell like a potato, but this remedy is known for being quite effective. Potatoes have carotenoids, phytochemicals and polyphenols which are great for your skin.
- Alfalfa: These leaves contain amino acids, Vitamin E and K, protein and even anti-fungal properties. These properties help to detoxify and heal your skin.
19. What can I do to help my skin improve postpartum?
- T A K E V I T A M I N S, but be sure to consult with your doctor first. Post-birth we can tend to not sleep enough and not eat enough. This can cause deficiencies, which leads to malnourished skin.
- E A T L E A F Y G R E E N S and veggies because the iron in them can help reduce the effects of skin issues
- E X F O L I A T E Y O U R S K I N because it helps to produce new, healthier and brighter skin. Be sure to exfoliate no more than three times per week.
- U S E O I L S that are rich in Vitamin E and rub them on the affected areas.
20. What causes postpartum hair loss?
Due to hormonal level changes some women experience hair loss.
21. How can I prevent hair loss after having my baby?
- Use voluminous shampoos because they contain protein which helps to make your hair thick and dense
- Use conditioner made for fine hair so your hair isn’t weighed down
- Apply conditioner as it was meant to be – at the end of your hair, not on your scalp (which weighs your hair down)
- Don’t use conditioning shampoos – they’ll weigh you down
- Don’t use intense moisture therapy conditioners – they’re also heavy hitters
22. If I have multiple pregnancies will my hair loss get worse?
Women who experience hair loss after a pregnancy often have telogen effluvium, a normal condition after a pregnancy that’s known to be temporary and causes hair loss. On the other hand, if you have anagen effluvium, a condition that causes the growth of hair follicles to be hindered, your condition can potentially worsen with multiple pregnancies.
23. How can I support hair growth postpartum?
- Ensure your nutrition levels are sufficient of zinc, iron, niacin, essential fatty acids, selenium and vitamin D. Just ask your doctor to recommend a daily vitamin for breastfeeding women to win at this.
- Eat foods that are rich in vitamin B and C, iron and zinc. These foods consists of peas, legumes, oranges, green leafy veggies, sprouts, buttermilk, whole grains, nuts, etc.
- Eat flax seeds, cause they’ve got a great source of omega-3 fats, which is great for hair health
- You may like to drink beer, but did you know it’s pretty awesome for your hair, too? That’s right! Beer’s got yeast in it that contains folic acid, riboflavin and biotin, so it helps to reduce hair loss and increase growth. It also adds to its shine and strength. Beer for the win!
- This miracle plant does it again – aloe vera you are a unicorn among all the other plants.
- You can use biotin (vitamin H) supplements to help in the creation of keratin (hair protein). Biotin supplements or hair products enriched with it will minimize your hair from falling out.
24. How can I improve my postpartum hair?
After having my son, my hair just wasn’t the same. Not only did it fall out like a maniac, but it dried up like an old shriveled prune. What was once detangled and luxurious became dry and brittle. Literally, I would have my hair in a braid and it somehow would managed to turn into a bird’s nest in a matter of hours – I guess my hair turned into a ninja, too. Here are a few ways that may help you to improve and prevent super dry hair postpartum, too:
1. Put the Blow Dryer Down: If your hair is already suffering from dryness, the last thing it needs is you blowing burn-worthy hot air on it or sticking it on a crazy hot flat iron. I know it may be your usual routine to have your hair undergo such extreme circumstances, but it won’t help with the dryness, it will only encourage it.
2. Use Avocado (Yum!): Avocados are seriously just supreme. Not only do they make your food taste better, but they can help heal your crackly ol’ hair, too. Because they’re rich in vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals, this mysterious fruit is awesome for dry and damaged hair.Just take an avocado, mash it up, add one egg and put this mixture on your wet hair. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes and rinse it a few times. Do this once a week.
3. Olive Oil Conditioning: Olive oil is another option to help give your roots some moisture. Just warm up about half a cup of it (not boil) and apply it to your scalp. Put a shower cap over your hair and wrap a towel to cover your hair. Chill for 45 minutes to an hour and then shower, shampoo and rinse.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar Mask: This last year I’ve been learning so much of the miracle that apple cider vinegar is. This stuff seriously does everything (so it seems) and it even can help perk up that hair on your head. Just combine 1 tsp of it with 2 tbsp olive oil and 3 egg whites. Mix it together, apply it to your hair and scalp, cover your hair with a shower cap and then shampoo and rinse.
5. Omega-3 Blasters: I’m not sure what omega-3 blasters are (it just sounded right in the moment), but omega-3 supplements are a great way to combat dry hair postpartum. Each day you can take up to three 250mg capsules of flaxseed, borage or evening primrose oil. They’re all real rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are perfect for keeping hair and nails moisturized and strong.
25. What is postnatal insomnia?
This is when you 100% want to sleep, but you just can’t – even with baby sleeping soundly. A lot of times this is causes by new mom anxiety over their newborns safety. You may have been a heavy, rock solid sleeper before, but now the littlest noises wake you up.
26. What causes insomnia post-baby?
- Once again, hormone changes post-baby are often what cause trouble sleeping. Estrogen can often be low which causes sleep disorders and depression.
- Crazy hormones are also working to rid your body of the fluids that you needed during pregnancy, which causes some women to experience night sweats which = sleeplessness.
- After having baby most women undergo a whirlwind of emotions due to postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD and even post-traumatic stress. This can equate to poor sleeping habits and insomnia.
- In the first few weeks after baby is born, moms are encouraged to feed baby every few hours. That includes waking up multiple times in the night, whether by baby crying or you getting up and making it happen. These sleep disturbances interrupt moms from being able to get back to normal sleeping patterns and can make it hard for some women to go back to sleep after waking up multiple times in the night.
27. What are symptoms that come with insomnia after baby?
- Unusually high anxiety
- Overwhelming irritation
- Mood swings
- Postpartum depression
28. Is it normal to not be able to sleep after having a baby?
Yes, unfortunately 60% of mothers suffer from insomnia post-baby and even in the late third-trimester. I remember after I had my son (I went into labor at 10:30pm and had him at 4:01am), I didn’t sleep for two days (technically three). I just wasn’t tired, and I guess the nurses coming in every few hours didn’t help either. After a few weeks of this I began to get back into order.
If you’re finding yourself struggling to sleep a few weeks after baby, you should definitely seek out the advice of your doctor so you don’t risk the chance of developing hypertension or depression.
29. How can I help prevent and treat insomnia after baby?
- Ask your husband to H E L P O U T – perhaps more than he already is. Whether it be having him help with changing baby in the middle of the night, rocking and soothing baby or if you’re bottle feeding, feeding baby. This gives you a well-needed break and allows you to get the sleep you need.
- Now everyone says to sleep when your baby sleeps and most moms just laugh. But in the first few weeks of baby’s life this side of the womb, just do it. It’s not ideal and your mind is probably racing and worry about your little one, but get some rest when baby does. If that means putting your phone across the room and literally just laying down and closing your eyes – do it. You don’t have to fall asleep – though that is ideal – but just rest. No TV, no phone, no people chatting. Be a potato, girl!
- Go to bed early, sis. Once baby goes down for the night (or at least their first “nap” at the start of the night), try and go down, too. If you need to take a bath to rest or drink some tea, do something to wind yourself down. If you go to bed really late, you’re only promoting bad sleeping habits – cause baby will wake you throughout the night.
- Put the coffee mug down. Lots of moms due to lack of sleep turn to caffeine. Caffeine is meant to wake you up and put a pep in your step, but that’s the last thing you need lady. You need sleep and caffeine doesn’t encourage sleep, it discourages it. So, put down your mug, step away from your coffee maker and lay down!
- Take notes on your baby’s sleep habits so you can plan your day well and sleep when you’re able to.
- I’m not entirely convinced about this one, cause I knock out regardless, but get off all electronics at least 1 hour before bed.
30. How long does postpartum bleeding last?
The answer to this question differs from woman to woman (cause we’ve all got different bodies), but according to Breastfeeding Magazine, generally postpartum bleeding goes a little something like this:
- W E E K O N E : You will have your heaviest bleeding that is bright red.
- W E E K T W O : Your flow will slow down just a bit and the blood will turn a pink-ish color
- W E E K T H R E E : You potentially may stop bleeding by this time, but if you don’t it should be a very light flow with your blood being a light brown, white or yellow-ish color.
- M O N T H + : If you are still bleeding it should be very light or just occasional spotting. You should no longer be wearing granny panty pads, but just panty-liners.
Note: If bleeding goes beyond six weeks, seek medical attention.
31. What is postpartum preeclampsia?
Similar to the one during pregnancy, it is high blood pressure with the presence of protein in urine (over 300mg). The condition usually shows up within 48 hours post-delivery and even as last as six weeks later. For those who have an early onset of preeclampsia, you’ll more than likelybe hospitalized a bit longer post-delivery until your blood pressure returns to normal.
32. What are signs of postpartum preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia doesn’t always come accompanied with symptoms and sometimes the symptoms that do show we overlook. A few common symptoms you can look for early on are:
- Hypertension – your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher – I suggest using an in-home blood pressure monitor.
- You have more than 300mg of protein in your pee (clearly a doctor’s visit and lab test will be required to figure this one out)
- Your vision is temporarily lost or blurred and your eyes become hypersensitive to light.
- You’re experiencing severe headaches, abdominal pain
- Your limbs and your face swell
- The amount of urine you produce decreases
Note: Always consult your doctor before pre-diagnosing yourself and worrying your little self sick.
33. What causes and risks of preeclampsia?
The causes are still unknown. If you develop postpartum preeclampsia it can cause seizures and it can permanently damage the liver, kidneys and brain. It’s important to seek medical attention right away as untreated preeclampsia can lead to a coma and even be fatal – and open the door to other serious conditions.
34. Will the doctor check my blood pressure before I leave the hospital post-delivery?
Yes, it is common practice that doctors check new moms blood pressure to ensure that your body isn’t showing any signs of preeclampsia. If they do find any concerns they’ll order tests (blood and urine) and more than likely keep you hospitalized until your blood levels are back to normal.
35. What remedies are there for preeclampsia?
You’ll usually be prescribed medication to help with hypertension if your blood pressure is higher than 150/100. If you have a mild case of postpartum preeclampsia doctors tend to use magnesium sulphate for a 24 hour period.
36. Can a mother who has postpartum preeclampsia breastfeed?
Yes, you’re just fine to breastfeed. Feel free to read more about the most FAQs for breastfeeding here.
37. What are postpartum cramps?
They’re uncomfortable pains that are basically telling you that your body’s going back to the way things were when you weren’t pregnant.
38. How long do postpartum cramps last?
They generally only persist for a few days after childbirth and they can happen hardly ever or pretty consistently.
39. What are the different kinds of postpartum pain/cramps?
- B A C K P A I N – Because the stress of labor tends to strain the back muscles, it can cause pain thereafter. Until your back muscles regain their strength the pain may continue – potentially for a few months. Women who experience back pains pre-pregnancy and those who are overweight are more prone to back pain after childbirth.
- A B D O M I N A L P A I N – This type of pain tends to either come in the upper abdomen or the lower abdomen – but it’s possible to have both. Lower ab pain is due to prolonged contractions of your uterus, as well as breastfeeding. If there’s complications due to your lower ab pain it can result in genital infections or even appendicitis. Upper ab pains are more rare, but they happen when there’s an infection – sooo let your doctor know ASAP.
- P E L V I C P A I N – When you’re pregnant your pelvic bones expand to prepare for baby’s exit. Because of this, your pelvic ligaments are loosened, the tissues and muscles can potentially tear and this can cause pelvic pain after childbirth. Something so simple as walking can be painful, and it can cause difficulty with going pee, poo or during intercourse.
- L E G P A I N – Leg cramps after childbirth are common in women because the body weight you’ve added on during pregnancy puts pressure on the muscles in your legs. Hormonal changes relax your joints and ligaments, which also aid in leg cramps. And low and behold the fluids you get during labor, if you sit for a long time while nursing or you lack sleep, these can also aid leg pain.
- H I P P A I N – Vaginal delivery is a common reason for hip pain post-delivery – we all get why. You do want to be wary if two weeks come and go after childbirth and you’re still experiencing hip pain – consult your doctor.
- C H E S T P A I N – This is often caused by muscles being strained during labor or it can be signs of a chest infection. A more serious cause could be a blood clot in your lungs. If you have severe pain, if you’re short of breath or if you cough up blood (eek!) go see a doctor immediately.
- H E A D A C H E S During Breastfeeding – “Lactation headaches” can last for a few weeks and even continue until your baby stops breastfeeding. If you’re experiencing constant headaches? See your doctor, sis.
- S T O M A C H P A I N After Eating – If you’re experiencing anal incontinence or uncontrollable gas, you can experience stomach pains. This generally can last up to six months after childbirth. You may also want to pay mind to your diet, as certain foods can increase your chances of stomach pain, in addition to cramps and discomfort. So, perhaps rid your diet of beans, fruits, veggies and whole grains and then slowly ween them back in to see which may be causing the pain, if any.
- U T E R U S P A I N – After childbirth, your uterus can take up to 6 to 8 weeks to shrink back to normal size again. The contractions that your uterus experiences to resize itself can cause uterus pain, but these pains should go away in time. Women say they feel these cramps during breastfeeding (I was one of the lucky ones to experience this – merp) and in future pregnancies.
- B R E A S T P A I N – Engorgement is generally the reason women experience breast pains after childbirth. Your breasts are naturally bigger and more tender due to your breastmilk coming in, but these pains do subside after a few days. If for some reason your breast pains persist, go see your doctor. Feel free to read more on everything breastfeeding here
- T H I G H P A I N – When the pelvic area stretches during labor, this can cause sharp or dull pains that reach down into your thighs. This pain can also be caused by carrying your new baby around, but you should see relief in about 3 months.
40. What are home remedies to help with postpartum pains?
- Ginger Tea – ginger is an anti-inflammatory, an astringent and antiseptic and more. It helps to reduce and prevent pains and cramps after childbirth and it can relieve hip and ab pains.
- Fennel Tea – fennel also has an anti-inflammatory and analgesic quality that helps relieve postpartum pains.
- Lemon Tea – lemons are known for their vitamin C which helps to improve your immune system and alleviate stomach cramps.
- Chamomile Tea – chamomile can help you get some relief from uterine pains.
- Mint Tea – mint contains properties that help to reduce ab pains, cramps and headaches postpartum.
- Rice Water – this helps to soothe your stomach area, prevent constipation and improve your digestion.
- Applying a heat compress to the affected area can alleviate pain and encourage better blood circulation
- Taking a Warm Bath – helps alleviate hip and uterus pains.
- Massage – sometimes, nothing feels better than a little rub down on a sore spot. So, if it’s an area you can reach, grab some coconut, olive or essential oils and rub it on the affected area. If you can reach the area, but you prefer to have your husband pitch in, ask the brotha to help you out and gently massage you pain areas.
41. What causes postpartum sweating?
Once again pregnancy hormones come in to ruin the day. After childbirth your body goes through drastic hormone changes, including a big reduction in your levels of estrogen. Your body then gets into a mode to rid itself of the extra fluid it was hanging onto during pregnancy. Therefore, that excess water finds is way out through your pores (a.k.a. sweating).
42. How long will postpartum sweating last?
Postpartum sweating is very similar to heat flashes women have during menopause. Thankfully, unlike menopausal heat flashes, postpartum sweating generally is short-lived.
It can continue for a few weeks (most women experience this for two to four weeks post-delivery) and as your hormones reduce and the excess fluids are nearly gone, your sweats will end, too. Regardless if you breastfeed or not, the postpartum sweats shouldn’t last longer than four weeks.
43. How can I treat or reduce postpartum sweats?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to prevent postpartum sweating. It is simply a process your body needs to go through. There is one effective way to help you get through and perhaps lessen the impact of the sweats. Drink. Lots. Of. Water. Girl.
It sounds strange, but the more water you drink during these sweats, the faster that excess fluid gets gone. So, if you’re looking for quick relief, drink a ton of water. When you have a sweat, down a few glasses of water as soon as you can. If you’re experiencing postpartum sweats and your pee is looking like apple juice? You aren’t helping the situation. Drink. Drink. Drink!
44. What is Stress/Postpartum Urinary Incontinence?
It is when a woman experiences pee leakage after childbirth.
45. What causes Postpartum Urinary Incontinence?
- If you’ve had multiple children, your body simply changes due to normal wear and tear.
- When you give birth to a large baby that required extra pushing or a longer labor
- If your doctor used surgical forceps during your vaginal birth
- You can have a predisposition to the condition if it runs in your family
- If you give birth vaginally you’re at a higher risk than women who undergo c-section
46. How long does incontinence last?
There really isn’t a cookie cutter answer for this question either. It varies from woman to woman, and it truly depends on your body. Some women experience incontinence for a few days or weeks, while others have to undergo surgery to fix the condition.
47. What can I do to help treat incontinence?
Once again, there really isn’t a one-size fits all answer here, but there are some things you can do to help:
- Get Your Kegel On: Kegel exercises help women strengthen pelvic muscles that may be a little weak.
- Engage Your Pelvic Muscles: When you’re sitting down, cross your legs. When you have to cough or sneeze, tighten your muscles. This is helpful in stopping pee from escaping.
- Use Sanitary Pads: While most women stop using these once they’re all healed up, if you’re experiencing incontinence continue using them until it goes away (the hygienic and disposable kind). By keeping these things around you help yourself when you’re out in public and your body gets a little “squirty.”
- Go When You Need To: If you’re anything like me, you wait around ‘til your bladder pretty much at explosion capacity. If you’re experiencing incontinence this will cause your leaks to be worse than they need to be – because you have a ton of pee in your bladder. When you empty your bladder often, you leave little in there to come out during a leak.
- Cut Caffeine: While the results aren’t conclusive just yet, there have been studies that have shown cutting (or at least reducing) caffeine intake helps a great deal with incontinence.
- Seek Medical Attention: If your incontinence persists or just gets worse, seek the advice of your doctor. They’ll be able to look further into the issue and see if medical intervention is necessary.
In the End…
I sure hope this list of postpartum care FAQs has helped you somehow. If I didn’t answer a question you have – shoot it my way and if you know any expecting mothers, feel free to share this with them. If you have any helpful insight or advice for the women who mosey around here, please leave it in the comment section! I love to hear from you, lady! 🙂
In All Honesty,