Giving birth to your baby may signify the end of your pregnancy, but it also marks a time of change and recovery for new mothers. Your body will need to recover from your pregnancy as well as the physical exertion of labor and delivery. You will also experience a plethora of emotions during this time. This is normal. Allow yourself to rest as much as possible, ensure you are nourishing your body, and accept help from family members or close friends as you adjust to your new addition. Rock Hill GYN & OB in Rock Hill and Fort Mill, SC, is dedicated to educating new mothers on what to expect during their postpartum care journey.
Focus on Healing & Bonding
For the first 6 to 8 weeks of the postpartum period, you should be focused on allowing your body to heal while bonding with your new baby. Even if you experienced the easiest delivery possible, your body needs an opportunity to mend. For a vaginal delivery you will feel soreness in your perineum and will bleed for several days after giving birth. The bleeding will subside, but you may still experience vaginal discharge called lochia for up to 6 weeks. Heavy bleeding that does not subside is called postpartum hemorrhage and it is life-threatening, so contact us immediately if you experience this. Women who had a cesarean section will require at least 8 weeks for their incision to heal. You will also be limited on certain physical activity. Follow all of the instructions from your healthcare provider to ensure a smooth recovery process.
Rest is Imperative
After your baby is born, you will not be able to get the same amount of quality sleep you were used to. Although your newborn will sleep a lot, they will also need to be fed every 2 to 3 hours and their sleep schedule will be highly unpredictable for a while. While it may seem like simple advice, try to sleep when your baby sleeps. Even just closing your eyes for 20 minutes may allow you to recharge a bit before your baby is awake and needs to be changed, fed, or simply comforted. Additionally, let your partner, other family members, or friends take on household chores. Make sure you are eating nutritious meals filled with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Drink ample water to stay hydrated. If you are breastfeeding, you will need to increase your calories and water intake so you can continue to nourish your body as well as your milk supply.
The Postpartum Checkup
This medical checkup usually occurs 6 to 8 weeks after giving birth. Even if you are feeling good and you had a delivery and pregnancy free of complications, you still want to schedule this appointment. It is an important component of your postpartum care and could prevent certain complications that can arise after giving birth. You may need to be seen sooner if you had a cesarean section or experienced other complications.
This visit is to ensure your body has healed from the delivery experience. We will check your weight and blood pressure, as well as perform a physical exam and pelvic exam. If everything is healing as it should, you will be cleared for physical activity including vaginal intercourse.
At this time, you may want to discuss your birth control options. Becoming pregnant too soon after giving birth can have a negative impact on physical health, so preventing pregnancy for at least 18 months is ideal. Be open about the emotions you have been experiencing. If you have postpartum depression, we can connect you to the help that you need.
Schedule Your Appointment
Turn to Rock Hill GYN & OB to guide you throughout your pregnancy journey including postpartum care. Contact us to schedule an appointment.