Postpartum (After Pregnancy)

Whew!  You did it.  Your baby is here!  Now the REAL WORK begins… sleepless nights, endless feedings, piles of poopy diapers- WooHoo!   Imagine my crooked smile at this time, only because I am the proud father of a 2-year old and my Audrey is the most wonderful and busy little girl. 

Being a parent is the most rewarding and the most exhausting thing you will probably ever do. 
So let us start with the topics that are covered during my hospital chats after the delivery.

1) Enjoy your baby.  Watch him as he takes that big yawn.  Admire how he gets hiccups exactly a minute after every meal.  When you’re done giving your baby a hundred kisses, sneak in an extra three.

2) Your body after delivery. They are it “labor” for a reason. It is extremely hard work getting that precious little bundle of joy out. It is normal feel very tired and uncomfortable for the first week or so. The nursing staff and myself will do our best to make sure that you have what you need to remain comfortable during your hospital stay. Ice packs, witch hazel pads, and different pain medications help many women cope with their initial postpartum recovery. We also recommend that women sit in the bath an soak for 10 minutes a few times a day to help your bottom recover.

3) Postpartum bleeding. After the delivery of your baby most women will experience vaginal bleeding for the next 1-6 weeks.Breastfeeding can help lessen the bleeding since it stimulates your uterus to contract back to its normal size. Eventually your regular period will return too, but that also is different for every woman. It can range from 6 weeks after delivery to 1 year depending on your body and if you are breastfeeding. One REALLY important thing I want everyone to remember is that even if you haven’t started getting regular periods again, you can still get pregnant! So be sure to use birth control if you are planning to space out your children.

4). Other postpartum discomforts. As if the vaginal pain and bleeding weren’t enough! Here is a list of a few other discomforts women experience.

  • Hot flashes. These occur due to hormonal changes that happen after delivery
  • Constipation. Sitting in a hospital bed for long period of time and the medications given during labor can cause this problem. The nursing staff might offer you a stool softener and also encourage you to drink lots of water and eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Lastly, try to start moving around soon after delivery.
  • Breast tenderness and engorgement. About 2-4 days after your delivery your body begins to make its mature milk and it often causes your breast to fill VERY full and tender. If you are not breastfeeding, it is best to wear a supportive bra and use pain medications to cope with he discomfort. If you are breastfeeding, nurse your baby as often as you can. The theme is “get the milk out”! Check out the breastfeeding section for more tips on engorgement.

Check out the link below for more information and tips on postpartum recovery.

5) Limit extra visitors to the hospital. I have seen this done a variety of ways, but the easiest thing might be to just have designated hours each day at the hospital when everyone can stop by. Often times it helps to be proactive and when giving the news to extended family/friends on the phone, to mention that they are welcome to stop by between 2 and 4PM.

6) Pamper yourself.  That last month of pregnancy can be pretty tough.  And then there’s labor!  Please accept these post-pregnancy pampering tips.
-You are entitled to at least one foot rub or back rub each day the next 6 weeks.  (If you can extend this deal longer, go for it!)
– Enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Now that you can see your toes, take a little time to paint them! Enjoy a long hot shower or bubble bath.
-Accept help. This is NOT the time to play Miss Independent. If someone asks what they can do to help, please tell them.

7) Your schedule should focus on the baby’s feedings and naps. (Especially the first 2 weeks)  When the baby is resting, you should be too.  I personally can’t remember the first two weeks of being a Dad- I can’t imagine how amazingly tired my wife felt.  This is NOT the time to start a new house project or feel that you need to keep the house clean for visitors.

8) It’s OK to be emotional. The “Baby Blues” are quite common (3 out of 4 moms!) and don’t be surprised if you shed a few tears without any reason at all. Your partner will be mystified when there is nothing that needs to be fixed- just let him know if there is something that will make you feel better- even if it is something simple like a long hug. Call your doctor if you find yourself sad all the time the first few days or your symptoms linger for longer than a week.

Post-partum depression is also common. If you have more symptoms than just mild tearfulness, I want you to call me to at least review how things are going.
Our number at the Vadnais Heights Healtheast clinic is 651-326-5900.

9) Next one??? Most of the time I have already chatted with families in regards to the possibility of more kids after the current pregnancy. If the topic comes up during the last month of pregnancy, most of you look like I’m crazy! I typically bring this up only because it’s helpful to make a plan on what to use for birth control. Breastfeeding does not prevent pregnancy, so it often times makes sense to start birth control within 6 weeks of your delivery. There are multiple options that can be used with breastfeeding.