Delivering your child comes with a lot of emotions. You might feel happy, exhausted and thrilled all at the same time. It is really rejoicing to look at your little bundle of joy who you have carried inside you for 9 months.
Now once it is out, you might expect things to go back to how they were earlier but there are a lot of surprises your way. It will still be months before your body starts feeling normal. Here are the things that you can expect in the coming weeks.
We will tell what to expect in the first 24 hours after giving birth to both the mum and the baby in this article.
What Happens to Your Body After Giving Birth?
The first thing most women want to do post-delivery is to lie on their flat tummy again. It is natural to see a small bulged belly even after the baby is out. This is called the baby belly. It is due to the stretched uterus, skin, and muscles in the abdomen. These are stretched out for a whole 9 months and will take weeks before shrinking to its original size. Therefore you will have to give your body some time before you can sleep on your flat tummy again. However, if you had a C-section then the stitches will need even more time to heal.
Bleeding and Contractions:
Immediately after delivery, there will be a lot of blood oozing out from your vagina. This is called lochia which is the blood, mucus and tissues inside the uterus while your baby was inside. The bleeding varies for every woman. It may last for 2 to 10 days after giving birth. Even the bleeding can vary from regular period flow to heavier than that. All this is normal and necessary.
Another common thing after delivery is contractions in the uterus. These cramps may start as soon as the baby is out and last for a week. These contractions are for shrinking and tightening the uterus so it can go back to its original place and size. If the bleeding or contractions are unbearable, then consult your doctor immediately.
Soreness and Difficulty in the Bathroom:
Pushing a baby out of your body from one tiny hole will give you swollen, sore, bruised, and mostly torn vagina. It will, therefore, take time to get comfortable and heal. Some women may also get stitches near the perineum and may be prescribed a sitz bath every 4-6 hours for the next few days.
Due to all this wear and tear it will become difficult to pee or pass stool in the next few days. Women who had C-section will also face the same problems due to different reasons. Once the catheter is removed, peeing will not be natural for a couple of days. The surgery will also cause nausea, constipation along with exhaustion.
For women with vaginal birth, sitz bath, ice packs, witch-hazel pads will come handy to reduce pain and swelling. For women with C-section, the doctor might prescribe pain relievers and complete rest for the next few days in the hospital itself.
During pregnancy the water content in your body increases. This contributes to the excess weight during pregnancy, along with the baby weight, amniotic fluid, and placenta. While these come out of the body after delivery, the water remains inside causing swelling.
During the next one week after delivery, this water will itself shred from the body through urine and sweat. Night sweats will frequently bother you for almost a week.
Your breasts will also undergo many changes in the next few months until you will feed your baby. For about 4 days after your delivery, the breasts produce colostrums in small quantities. This is essential for your baby as well and will be enough to fill his marble-sized stomach.
Because the feeding is new to your body, your breasts will generally be sore and tender. Your baby’s attempts to latch and suck on it will increase the uneasiness. If the pain is too much, then consult a lactation expert. As soon as your body gets used to it, the pain will start easing.
The demands of your baby, physical pain, and hormonal changes will trigger too many mood swings. You need time to adjust to all of this until you find a way to cope up with all of this.
Take help from your partner, family, and friends, rest whenever possible, and reschedule your day to create a balance. All this will help to keep your mood stable and take care of the baby.
If you are unable to stay calm, then seek help from a close one or a professional. Postpartum depression is common and nothing to hide.
What Happens to Your Baby After Birth?
As soon as you push the baby out of your body, their skin is mottled. You can see their veins and the body covered with blood, amniotic fluid, and vernix. Well, this is what your baby was covered with for the last 9 months.
As soon as they start breathing (about a couple of seconds later after birth), the baby’s skin will turn pink. Their feet and hand, however, may stay blueish for a long while.
Everything on the baby is cleaned but not thoroughly. This is so that the baby has the smell of something familiar on them once they are in the outside world. It will also let your baby feel secure.
Placenta and Umbilical Cord
Once the baby is out, you will still have contractions to deliver the placenta. It is important to remove the placenta from the womb. Once it is out the umbilical cord that connects both the baby and placenta inside the womb is ready to be cut.
The cord is clamped at two ends and cut. A little umbilical cord still stays on the baby and will eventually fall off itself. Many hospitals let the partner or support person cut the umbilical cord.
Skin Contact with the Mom
If you have a normal delivery, then the newborn is placed on your body for skin contact. Since they are aware of their mothers’ touch, it is important to immediately have contact with the mother to feel warm and secure. It will help the baby sleep and take their first feed.
It will also help in reducing the crying of the baby. Start breastfeeding and maintain the temperature of the baby’s body. Once the baby stops crying or is a little comfortable with the surroundings, they are then weighed and measured. Mainly the length of the baby and their head circumference are measured. A few checks are made to ensure that the baby is healthy.
Women with C-section may need some time to hold their baby due to the stitches or anesthesia. You can ask your midwife or doctor to have this contact as soon as possible. Even your partner can hold the baby immediately after birth.
Blood Collection and Injection
The baby’s blood is collected to check the blood group and determine if everything is fine. The baby also gets a shot of Vitamin K. This prevents any bleeding from the deficiency of Vitamin K.
The baby needs to be fed within an hour of taking birth. Babies themselves start showing signs of hunger and naturally attach to the mother’s breast. Most babies easily attach to the breast and start sucking milk. All you need to do is hold the baby against your chest. If you see the baby having problems with latching, call your midwife or lactation expert for help.
Colostrum is the first milk produced in the breasts. It is yellowish and thick and ideal for feeding your baby. For the first few days, this is enough for your baby. In case the baby had trouble feeding in the first hour, you can try again after a few hours.
Your baby will sleep next to you and it is ideal also to have a bond with the baby. It is also easier to respond to the baby’s needs. They will spend almost half the day sleeping on their birthday.
Urine and Stool
It is common for the baby to pass urine not more than once on the first day. You might also see them pass meconium, black sticky feces in the first 2-3 days. After this, their urine frequency should increase and their stool should start changing color.
As your baby has listened to your voice throughout their stay within you, they will recognize it as soon as they hear it. Even others like your partner or family member who were talking to the baby or near you during pregnancy, they will respond to their voices.
Their vision after birth is blurred and they can see only till about 30 cms initially. The amniotic fluid and colostrums have a similar flavor, which they smell and taste after birth and feel similar surroundings.