Birthing is a beautiful and life-changing experience for many moms. However, it is also quite traumatic and impacts your body dramatically.
While vaginal births are considered to be safer and less intrusive than a Cesarean section, there is still a distinct recovery period associated with normal vaginal birth. New moms can expect to experience specific things as they make their way through recovery from a vaginal birth.
In order for a baby to be delivered vaginally, the area has to be stretched to its max. Once the baby is born, the vaginal area does not automatically bounce back. In fact, the outer labia and surrounding areas is most often swollen, sore and uncomfortable. If a episiotomy was necessary, you could have stitches as well. The swelling can take several days to go down, while discomfort may not completely disappear until several weeks after the birth. Some women find it hard to have a bowel movement for several days after birth because of the discomfort in the vaginal area.
Most women are fully aware that vaginal birth is painful, especially if no epidural is used. However, many women are unprepared for the after-birth pains. After-birth pain is caused by your uterus contracting quickly to its pre-pregnancy size. After-birth pains are usually mild in first-time moms, but increase with each subsequent birth. This is because your uterus stretches more easily after multiple births and requires more contracting to return to its normal size. Your birthing professional will probably prescribe a prescription or over-the-counter pain killer to help you cope.
Postpartum Depression or the “Baby Blues”
Birth is emotional in many ways. Some women find the hormonal surges to be particularly disruptive to their moods. Many women experience a period of sadness within the immediate period after the baby is born. Weepiness and unexplained crying is a common symptom. This is most often the normal “baby blues” that many moms navigate. Sadness, apathy and emotional upsets that continue for an extended period of time may be postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can interfere with your ability to bond with your baby, so talk to your birthing professional to get help.