After carrying your baby for around 40 weeks and delivering successfully, you’re likely feeling a lot of emotions (and physical symptoms) right about now. You’re facing another adjustment period, and you probably have a lot of questions about what you can expect as a new mother. From managing your own symptoms to making sure your baby is adapting to life in your home, knowing what to expect when you’re DONE expecting is often a lot harder than the other way around.
Your team of experts at Memphis Obstetrics and Gynecological Association, P.C., knows that the first few weeks after giving birth can be emotional. While you’re bonding with your baby, we are here to give you the tools and information you need to take care of yourself and your baby in their first few weeks. Keep reading to learn more about what you can expect after a successful pregnancy and delivery.
First Weeks for New Mothers
When you’re pregnant, you’re prepping for the delivery of your baby — and as is so typical of mothers, you’re probably more focused on how your baby will feel for these next few weeks than how you’ll feel. However, it’s so important to prepare for your own experience post-birth so you can take care of yourself alongside your baby — and that’s why your team at MOGA is here to help.
Taking the proper time to recover postpartum is essential to your wellbeing. Six weeks is generally recommended for recovering from a delivery. Most of your current discomfort should ease up within that time frame, but some symptoms may take longer to dissipate.
Whether you had an easy or hard delivery, vaginal or C-section, the circumstances of your delivery may make your recovery look different. For vaginal births, mothers can expect soreness to subside between three and six weeks. For mothers who had C-sections, you’ll spend three to four days post-delivery at the hospital. You can expect to recover from most symptoms within four to six weeks postpartum.
It’s normal for new mothers to experience up to six weeks of postpartum bleeding which may feel like a heavy period. This is because your uterus is shedding the lining that protects your baby throughout pregnancy, which includes leftover blood, mucus, and uterine tissue. Your postpartum bleeding will feel the heaviest for the first three to ten days before gradually tapering off.
Call your MOGA clinician if you notice large blood clots or are bleeding through more than one pad every hour.
Because your uterus is shedding the blood and tissue it used to create a safe environment for your baby during pregnancy, you may experience cramping as it attempts to push this excess material out of your body. This process helps your uterus shrink back to its normal size, and while it can be painful, it is a sign that your body is responding normally.
Your perineum is located between your anus and vulva. During your delivery, this section of skin can stretch, swell, or tear, causing discomfort after your baby is born. Recovery time for perineum tears typically lasts a week, but soreness could last several weeks.
Breastfeeding comes with a learning curve, and new mothers can expect to feel some soreness during this time. Fortunately, the more you breastfeed and practice the correct positioning, the easier it will be in the future.
It probably comes as no surprise to you that pregnancy hormones can cause a roller coaster of emotions. Following pregnancy, it’s common for women to experience a case of the “baby blues” after giving birth. It’s important to remember that this is a normal process that you should not be ashamed of. Postpartum blues affects up to 25% of new mothers, so you are not alone.
If you’re experiencing severe anxiety, feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or irritability, or are disconnected from the life you used to live, contact your clinician at MOGA so we can help you get the care and support you need.
First Weeks for Newborns
Your baby’s first weeks are a time of adjustment and bonding. You’ll learn how to take care of him or her and he or she will learn to adapt to life outside of the womb. In general, you can expect your baby to repeat a cycle of eating, sleeping, peeing/pooping, and crying every one to three hours. We’ll get into the specifics below.
As your new baby gets used to life outside the womb, there are a lot of things they’re getting used to — just like you! This list includes breastfeeding and developing their natural reflexes like suckling and grasping. Their vision is still blurry during the first week, so they will focus only on objects that are close-up.
You should expect your baby to do a lot of sleeping during this first week of life. In fact, they’ll spend around 17 hours per day sleeping. Be sure to lie them on their back for safe and sweet dreams. You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s a good idea to catch up on sleep when your baby is asleep so that you feel as rested as possible by the time they wake up (and always remember that feeling fatigued is natural for mothers).
Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, this process takes some time to get the hang of both for you and your baby. For mothers who are breastfeeding, the best way to tell your child is eating enough is by the number of diapers they’re running through per day. You should notice about six wet diapers and three to four poopy diapers per day. For mothers who are bottle-feeding, you should give your child one to two ounces of formula for the first few days before increasing the amount to three to four ounces at the end of the first week.
MOGA: Dedicated To Your Care
At Memphis Obstetrics and Gynecological Association, P.C., we’re dedicated solely to a woman’s care — helping her maintain good health during puberty, through pregnancy, menopause, and throughout later life. If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, visit our office to schedule an appointment today!