July 24, 2013

It's a boy!! The truth of the after birth effects.

Image The Age
It's a boy!! We all love the arrival of a healthy little bub, it's thrilling and ever so exciting but often the pain and the changes of a womans body is rarely talked about. We just don't talk about the after effects of birth.

I'm here to tell you, its not so glamorous and can be painful for a while. I have the philosophy of telling my patients that over the next 3 months - consider them your fourth trimester. Rest, Recuperate and Recover.

When I had my first baby, my friends couldn't believe that my tummy was still full - they visited 14 hours after the birth! I too was slightly surprised that it was still protruding 3 months later! Yes it can take that long and this is the reason that I now support the use of a belly wrap. I used a belly wrap after the birth of my second son, it was amazing and assisted my uterus retracting back into my abdomen very quickly, I looked back to 'normal' in weeks.

The pain and discomfort after birth, where do I start; vagina, breasts, bottom, tummy everything is painful, you have just birthed (on average) a 3.5kg baby and placenta. I was in pain after my first birth for four weeks, it was incredible. Mind you I had a relatively good first labor experience; 6 hours, no drugs, natural birth - how could I be in so much after pain! Let me tell you I was.

Image The Age
There is pain when your milk comes in, your breasts swell and fill. There's also nipple pain, the Australian Breastfeeding Association say that there should be no pain when breastfeeding, and they are right to a degree, but initially you have never had anyone suckle from your nipples as much as your newborn and it irritates the skin and is a new sensation. Relax in the comfort of your own home, braless, use some nipple cream if needed. Drink plenty of water and keep hydrated.

The uterus starts retracting when you start feeding your baby and for some women this again is painful and uncomfortable, I'm not making it sound too good but I'm re-enforcing the need to Rest, Recover and Recuperate.

And then there are the 'baby blues', your bodies hormones drop and the tears flow. This can occur around day three after birth or later. Sometimes the blues can turn into post-natal depression, don't be scared if you can't connect with your baby there is support. Speak to someone close to you, or contact PANDA

Rest, Recover and Recuperate. If you were lucky enough to live in some villages in China, you would recover for 3 months in bed and bond with your gorgeous baby when he or she needed feeding. Motherhood is really a beautiful experience but we all need to respect our bodies and recover. Eat well, rest, drink, love and laugh, I've written before about my tips for new mums here.

Most of all give your self a BIG pat on the back, you've just grown and birthed a beautiful little human - CONGRATULATIONS.

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