Welcome to motherhood! Whether it’s your first experience as a mom or you’re starting over again with a new baby, there are a few things you should know in order to make early motherhood as smooth as possible. Let’s pick up the looking glass and find out what to expect.
Contractions help your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size, shrink the area where the placenta was attached, and decrease your bleeding.
After the baby is born, you will have bleeding, like a period (heavier in the first few days). At first, the bleeding will be red, then pink, then brown, and finally creamy yellow or white before it stops, which should be around six weeks after your baby is born. The bleeding should smell like your normal period and should never smell sour or foul.
You’ll find that you have mild contractions. Contractions help your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size, shrink the area where the placenta was attached, and decrease your bleeding. Depending on the size of your baby, and/or the number of babies you’ve had, you may notice some fairly intense cramping. If you have chosen to breastfeed your baby, you may notice more cramping while the baby is nursing. These cramps decrease and become less painful after the first couple of days.
If you delivered vaginally, you will notice that your vaginal area may be sore and swollen for a few days. Ice packs help decrease the swelling and feel best during the first 24 hours. After that, you will find more comfort from warm packs or soaking in a tub of warm water for 15-20 minutes, several times a day. Lying on your side will help take pressure off the swollen area and help you heal more comfortably. Any stitches that you may have received will dissolve within a few weeks.