What to expect after you have expected
For most women, the 40 weeks spent growing and preparing for a baby are met with a combination of anxiety, excitement and a touch of apprehension. Whether you are expecting your first, second or sixth baby, preparation is key. From what color to paint the nursery to which hospital you’ll be delivering at and who you’ll use as a pediatrician once your baby is born. It’s all a part of the exciting childbirth process.
What’s not always at the forefront of a woman’s mind, however, is what to expect from her body after giving birth. This list contains 5 things to keep in mind while navigating the recovery process.
Vaginal Dryness after Childbirth
The varying levels of hormones in your body after childbirth can lead to issues such as vaginal dryness. This is especially true for mothers who are breastfeeding. In many cases, this symptom will dissipate after a time and, in the meantime, a lubricant during sex will ease discomfort. However, if the problem persists, be sure to have a chat with your provider about a solution or treatment.
Not only is it common for a woman to notice swelling during pregnancy, but it can continue or even get worse after baby arrives. This is because of the body’s large increase in blood volume. After birth, the blood needs somewhere to go, often residing in the lower extremities during the first few weeks of recovery.
Many women notice the appearance of stretch marks on their stomachs, sides, thighs, and breasts as a result of rapid growth and stretching in these areas during pregnancy. Although these may fade, stretch marks are normally there to stay. Instead of letting them frustrate you, try thinking of stretch marks as tiny reminders of what your body is capable of. After all, pregnancy and childbirth result in the existence of a brand new human being – and that’s pretty amazing.
Carrying a baby for 10 months, not to mention pushing one out of your body, creates a lot of pressure on the muscles in your pelvis. This directly correlates with the ability to control your bladder. So, don’t be surprised if a jaunt up the stairs or a sudden sneeze causes a certain level of incontinence. Be sure to stock up on pads before baby’s arrival to avoid any embarrassing situations.
Pain During Sex
Once you’ve been cleared by your healthcare provider to jump back in the saddle, don’t be surprised if things don’t quite feel like they used to. Don’t be afraid to try a lubricant to ease things along. Pain caused by dryness is fairly common after childbirth. If the problem persists, be sure to speak with your provider about possible remedies.
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Lá-Shaun Elliott, MD MPH, is a board-certified preventive medicine expert in Towne Lake. The practice provides services in Holistic Women’s Health and Non-Surgical Vaginal Rejuvenation.