Having a baby can be a true blessing for so many women, but having a baby doesn’t come with an instruction manual that tells moms about every little thing that they should expect after having a baby. Pregnancy can do some strange things to a woman's body, and not every little change dissipates immediately after the baby is born either. Some moms don’t realize that pregnancy brain is a real thing that can stick around for years after she has given birth or that those pre-pregnancy outfits usually aren’t able to be worn right after the baby arrives. There are plenty of things that can happen that moms aren’t aware of within the first month of giving birth. Please continue reading to see what some of them are!
Pregnancy brain is a real thing. Some moms describe feeling more forgetful–among other things–after they’ve been pregnant. Pregnancy brain can actually last up to two years during the first pregnancies, according to Sciencemag.org, and the gray matter of the brain that is used in responding to social situations shrinks, which is why moms are more adapt to dangers in their environment.
Moms may feel afterbirth pains–like cramping–after delivering their little one. According to Babycenter.com, the afterbirth cramping is actually the uterus contracting back into place after giving birth. The process is knowns as something called “involution.” The more children a mother gives birth too, the more intense the pain can feel.
Pregnancy can give moms a beautiful head of luscious thick hair. Sadly, the new head of hair is only temporary. So, mom, if you start losing a lot of hair after giving birth, don’t panic! Postpartum hair loss is actually very normal and can last anywhere from six to 12 months after giving birth, according to Kellymom.com. The hair loss is only temporary, so, no, you are not going bald.
Engorgement is when “the girls” swell with milk and it can also make it challenging for the baby to nurse as well as leaving mom with very uncomfortable feelings, according to Summitmedicalgroup.com. An excellent tip to help ease engorgement is to take a warm shower right before you are about to attempt to nurse your little one, or even apply a heated compress to the girls about 10 minutes before nursing.
Hemorrhoids can be a very uncomfortable symptom of pregnancy, but just because the baby is no longer renting moms womb, that doesn’t mean that those annoying buggers will just go away immediately. Women who have undergone natural births are actually more prone to getting them from all of the pushing that mom just had to do, according to Urmc.rochester.edu.
A woman’s body isn’t the only thing that goes through changes when she gets pregnant, her mind also goes through some major changes as well. After giving birth, a woman’s mental status may change, according to Womenshealth.gov. Some moms develop postpartum depression, anxiety, and, in some cases, even postpartum bipolar disorder. If you have just had a baby and notice changes to your mental health, please talk to your doctor about any changes that you may be going through.
Body aches, even flu-like body aches, are sometimes to be expected after having a baby regardless if mom had a C-section or a natural birth. Having a baby usually makes a woman use muscles that she isn’t used to fully using. If the body aches become too extreme, contact your doctor to discuss your options.
Something a lot of women don’t realize is that it is actually common for new moms to get the sweats, according to Marchofdimes.com. The “new mom sweats” are actually caused by changing hormone levels. To help with the sweating, Marchofdimes.com recommends that moms wear cooler clothing to bed and that they avoid using heavy blankets that can further add to the sweating.
No matter how prepared a new mom thinks she is, the first few times her baby gets a low-grade temperature, mom may start to panic. For a newborn, their rectal temperature shouldn’t go above 100.4 degrees F. If it does, moms need to remain calm but they should contact their child’s pediatrician immediately and see what the doctor advises.
With hormones still all out of whack, the first time that you have to leave your newborn baby–for whatever reason–there is a good chance that you may shed some tears. It is completely normal and nothing to feel embarrassed about. You just carried your little one for nine months and you formed a special bond with them. So, of course, you might cry when you leave them the first time, but just know you’re not alone doing it.
When you have a new baby at home, germs can all of a sudden become scarier than they used to be. Which is completely normal since a newborn has an immune system that is not fully formed yet. There is no need to to have a guest around your little one put on full Hazmat suits, but a simple hand washing will suffice.
Once your little one is home, it is almost like mom instincts come into play as you gaze around your home and start to notice little things here and there that the baby could potentially get into that could be perceived as dangerous. You may start to notice little wires here or some uncovered outlets there. It may just be the little things, but when it comes to your child’s safety and well-being, everything counts.
Some new moms expect to hit the gym the moment the baby is no longer renting out moms’ uterus. But according to Verywellfamily.com, doctors, and midwives recommend that a mom wait at least six to eight weeks before they start creating a regular workout routine. Moms want to wait until their body has some proper time to heal from the trauma of going through childbirth.
Some new moms have visions of bringing the baby home and bathing them right away. However, bathtime has to wait a few weeks–for the baby–until their umbilical cord stump falls off naturally to prevent and avoid infection of that area. According to Whattoexpect.com, it generally takes about two to three weeks for the stump to fall off.
Some moms automatically think that once their little one has arrived, that they will somehow instantaneously fit back into their pre-pregnancy clothing – which is more like wishful thinking compared to the truth. It will take some time and effort on moms’ part before she can wear their skimmy jeans again. Once the doctor clears moms for exercise, she will be able to try to get her body back to those pre-baby days.
New moms should really try to prepare for themselves for excessive fatigue that can last months after mom has given birth, according to Babycenter.com.
Post-partum fatigue has many factors that come into play, such as the body needing to rest and recuperate after childbirth, or if mom suffered from pregnancy-related anemia, or if mom’s body is recovering for a c-section. Add in a crying newborn who’s always depending on mom’s time and energy just seems to add to the ever-growing sleep deprivation and fatigue.
One thing that many moms think is that their motherly intuition will kick in immediately after the baby is born and all of a sudden, they know everything there is to know about what to expect after the baby comes home. It doesn’t always work like that. A mom has to get to know her baby and her post-baby body and then the instincts will soon start to kick in naturally. One day, you will realize that your instincts are naturally kicking in.
Some new moms have their mind made up that they don’t want any help after the baby arrives, but when it comes down to it, almost every new mom will be grateful for any offer of help that they get. Newborns take a lot of time and energy, so if you have someone in your life who is able to help you with your little one, allow them to help.
It is a major misconception that breastfeeding can prevent pregnancy. After giving birth, despite nursing your little one, the possibility of getting pregnant again is very real. Breastfeeding is not a means of birth control and should never be looked at as one. According to Babycentre.co.uk, while breastfeeding can make you less fertile, it does not make you infertile. The reason behind this is because breastfeeding can sometimes postpone ovulation.
Google is not a new mom’s friend, despite what many people think. It is so easy to look up symptoms yourself, but when in doubt always contact your doctor or your child’s pediatrician. You could Google signs of a fever and all of a sudden it turns out that the plagues are back. Doctors go to school for the knowledge that they have, so let them take care of the hard stuff like finding out what is wrong with your little one and let the doctor offer his diagnosis.
References: Marchofdimes.com, Sciencemag.org, Verywellfamily.com, BabyCenter.com, summitmedicalgroup.com, urmc.rochester.edu, Womenshealth.gov, Chop.edu, Kellymom.com, Babycentre.co.uk