While I’m snuggling my newborn, all sorts of birth and baby topics have come to mind! With the help of a few reader questions (feel free to email more!) we’ll be tackling labor, delivery, mom and baby care over the next few weeks. My experience isn’t everyone’s experience, so please chime in!
Our first question comes from Emily: One of my questions is about after having the baby. For some reason, that part scares me more (now)! What is the pain and bleeding like after birth? How long does it last?
As with everything else relating to childbirth, each person’s experience will vary, and even my own experiences varied from one baby to the next! With my first three babies I had to be stitched up after delivery. Those were all three natural deliveries with no medication, and my doctor always laughed at me because I hated the stitching worse than the delivery! “Amy, you just had a baby without medication!” he’d say. Yes, but I am DONE with the pain and DONE with all things “down there” after that baby comes out!
I’d strongly recommend listening to the pushing advice of your doctor or midwife in an attempt to avoid any tearing. A caring doctor will help you go slowly and “stretch” that area as much as possible. (I loved my doctor with the first three, but I had NO patience with the stretching once it was push time.)
After delivery you’ll likely feel quite “traumatized” down under. The contractions do not stop after delivery. For me, they became more like menstrual cramps (strong ones!) and they were stronger and lasted longer with each baby. Those after-pains also intensify when baby breastfeeds (breathe through them like you do contractions). Ouch! So worth it, though. Your body is designed that way. Baby helps getting the hormones going that shrink the uterus back to normal size. It’s uncomfortable, but only for a few days.
I was surprised this time around to not have as much bleeding right after delivery (I think it was all that pregnancy tea I drank!). The nurses come around every so often to “push on your belly.” At first, blood comes gushing out when they do that. (Which is why you’re still on large, disposable pads on the bed.) It’s not fun, but I’ve always been holding my brand new baby during those pushes. “Focus on the baby. Focus on the baby.”
I did accept the motrin they offered me after delivery. It certainly doesn’t take away all the after-pains, but between that and the adrenaline (we just had a baby!!!) it was tolerable.
After my first baby I bled (like a period) for nearly 6 weeks. Not sure why, because my bleeding with other babies has only been about 2-3 weeks. The after-pains, especially when nursing, lasted around a week, I think.
Chime in, Mamas. How was your pain and bleeding after delivery? I’d like to hear from some c-section mamas, too, because I have zero experience with that.
Next post: Postpartum recovery: feel better faster!