It seems that everyone has advice for pregnant women. Even with all this advice, there are still a few things no one talks about...
My, there are emotions…
It is very common around day three postpartum, to start feeling more emotional. Hormones are all over the place, trying to get back to normal. Day three is also when your milk comes in typically. You also may wake up drenched in sweat. 1
Know that being teary can be normal. Baby blues affect about 70% of moms. This usually is mild and goes away within a few weeks after birth.
Some moms will experiences more severe symptoms of depression, known as postpartum depression. Rarely, postpartum psychosis can occur as well. Postpartum depression isn’t a character flaw or weakness in mom. 2
Prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms. It is important to contact your care provider if you are feeling you may be developing postpartum depression
You feel gross…
Yes, everyone should feel like a queen! You just managed to BIRTH A HUMAN, with your body! I still can’t get over that. It is amazing. But… after birth we are squishy. I felt like the Pillsbury dough boy, for real. Nothing fits either. I wore a lot of yoga pants and leggings during the first month postpartum.
Anecdotal evidence shows that belly bands or belly binding can be helpful to get back to your pre-pregnancy shape. The idea is that binding your belly can help your abdominal muscles and organs get back to their normal size. 3
Exercise is the only proven way to help get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. Be aware that it takes time for your abdominal muscles to recover. Until then, avoid planks and crunches. Diastasis recti can occur during pregnancy and these exercises can make it worse.
Give yourself some grace. You did just birth your baby! Take time to recover, start slow and listen to your body.
You are leaking…
It takes time for the wound where your placenta was to heal. Lochia, or postpartum bleeding, will occur for 3-6 weeks for most moms. This is the lining of your uterus shedding after birth. The bleeding will be heavy at first and then start to slow. 4
If you have bleeding that soaks a pad in 15 minutes or less call your doctor immediately. If the bleeding starts getting heavier, it can signify you are doing too much. This can be your bodies way of telling you to slow down and rest.
Not only do you grow your baby, AND birth your baby, you can FEED your baby... with your body. AGAIN, blows my mind. Your initial milk is called colostrum. This thick, yellow milk is low in fat, high in carbohydrates, protein and antibodies. It is easy for babies to digest and is the perfect food for them. The first day of birth, baby’s stomach is the size of a marble. They do not need a lot! 5
Around day three your mature milk will come in. When this happens, engorgement, or full uncomfortable breasts, can occur. This usually goes away within 18-24 hours. Your breasts will adjust over time, making the right amount of milk for your baby. If you are having prolonged or very painful engorgement seek help from a lactation consultant or care provider. 6
When you have a letdown, or when the milk is being expressed, it will happen on both breasts. This can be messy if you aren’t prepared. In the beginning the Haakaa pump can be very helpful. It is a silicone breast pump that catches the let down on one side while you are breastfeeding on the other. This milk can be stored and frozen so the milk isn’t wasted! 7
Once your supply regulates and hopefully you aren’t leaking quite as much, my favorite breast pads are Bamboobies. They are made out of bamboo so they are very soft. They are washable so you don’t have to waste so many throw away pads! 8
Dad likely needs attention too…
Yes, dad probably wants some love. Refer back to #2 and #3… It really isn’t the most attractive feeling. It often takes six weeks to recover physically. Your cervix needs to shrink back down and go back in the right position. While you are still bleeding postpartum, that means you have an open wound basically where your placenta was. Give yourself time to heal. Sometimes mom is ready by six weeks, sometimes she isn’t ready until six months. Everything is normal, and it is okay!
Know that you ovulate before your menstrual cycle returns. You can get pregnant soon after having a baby even if you are exclusively breastfeeding! Having open communication is key to finding the right time to resume sexual activity.
the postpartum period isn’t always glamorous. It is though, such a beautiful time to make memories with your new family. Take time to relax and enjoy your new baby. Give yourself grace and patience. You will never be the same again. We are given the gift to be mamas to our little babes. They are only little for a little while.
The best way to prepare for your pregnancy, birth and postpartum is to educate yourself! Sign up for one of my classes today! siouxfallsbirth.com
12:30 am on 7/7/17 is when my first contraction hit… of course the middle of the night.
My babies like to wake the whole world up for their arrival. I had been having weird pressure for a few hours. I wasn’t able to sleep through it but I didn’t know it was the prelude to labor. I kept getting out of bed trying to go to the bathroom but didn’t have to. Once the first few contractions went by I knew that I was for sure in labor.
My labors are never putsy putsy. My contractions start strong. I tried laboring on my own for a while. I used some positioning techniques my doula encouraged me to try. I was trying to slow things down so I didn’t have to wake everyone up… that didn’t work. I finally had to wake Jared up and tell him it was time. I had just gotten through a contraction so he didn’t think I was really in labor. We sat in bed for a few minutes until another one hit, he then believed me.
I thought I would get into the shower and see if the water would slow things down. If nothing, it sped labor up. I had been so anxious towards the end of pregnancy. I was worried what I would do with Jonah when I went into labor. I had a list with literally over ten people. Many going on vacation around my due date. Everyone was telling me to relax and that it would work out.
I decided to call my brother once my contractions were six minutes apart. Hoping that would be good timing to get to the hospital. Well we did, but no answer. My anxieties were becoming reality. I really didn’t want to take my two year old to the hospital in the middle of this night while I labored! We waited about twenty minutes until we called the next person on the list. This was my coworker who had watched Jonah many times. thankfully she answered and came right over!
By the time she got to the house my contractions were really picking up intensity. Even though I knew I should probably go to the hospital I felt fine between them. I was second guessing myself but by the way I had to brace for impact, Jared knew we needed to get going.
We got to the hospital at 4:15am. A nurse came right down and wheeled me upstairs. The cold hospital air was making me mildly nauseas. During contractions each bump about set me over the edge.
This time around I was able to get through the paperwork myself. With Jonah’s labor I was not able to due to the pain. I had Jared put my Jewel radio station on. I was singing between contractions. I thought for sure I wasn’t very far along because of this. I was checked, for the first time during this pregnancy. I was dilated to 7 cm!? I was so excited I had made it so far so quickly.
I wanted to get into the tub right away, that helped tremendously with my first labor. Heidi, our doula arrived quickly and helped me in. I was only able to handle about twenty minutes of this. It was not comfortable or relaxing this time.
Getting out of the tub, I was only able to make it to the sink. It was like I was glued to the floor. I didn’t want to go any farther. I spent quite a bit of time leaning over the sink swaying side to side. Looking back I realize this was transition for me. I was having very intense surges. I was having nausea, hot flashed and intense pressure.
After a while I was helped to the bed, again I wanted to stand. I had learned in my first labor that side lunges felt really good so I started doing those. My contractions were spacing back out but now they were much more intense.
Our midwife encouraged me to try leaning onto a peanut ball on the bed. I did so on my hands and knees. It took about 45 minutes of pushing and our sweet girl was born at 6:15 on 7/7/17. Jared was able to catch her! That was an incredible moment for both of us.
Looking down at her I couldn’t believe she was here! My pregnancy really went so fast. It seemed like I had just found out I was pregnant and now she was here. I guess that is what happens when you’re chasing a toddler around! I spent time studying her. She didn’t look like anyone in our family and she was so petite and little!
Her name, Mackenzie, is a name we both liked with our first pregnancy. It is a known name but not very common. We liked Jonah for those same reasons. Viviann, her middle name, is a combination of my grandmother Vivian, and Jared’s grandmother Ann. There are also many family members who have Ann as a middle name in our families. Jared hopes to call her “Mack” someday. Jonah calls her “Kenzie.”
She really is the sweetest baby. She always has the biggest smiles for us. She only cries when she’s hungry or when she’s in the car seat. This is a pleasant change for us. I think it is God’s way of making sure we have more children!
I have linked to blogs in the above text. Click on the highlighted words to learn more!
Let me tell you about my designer nursery.
The minute I found out I was pregnant I started designing it. It has beautiful bright teal/blue walls. I painted the ceiling a shade of that blue closest to white. I found a light that has three hanging glass globes, each with white and gold glass beads in them. I put the lights on a dimmer so when I ever so slightly light the globes, they look like they are timbers glowing in a fire.
We also used pieces from my husband’s nursery; his guardian angel picture & a teddy bear poem. I dry brushed the frames of those and a large mirror with bronze paint to match. My sister made a large sign to put over my sons bed after he was born. The background is planks of wood that are distressed and teal in color. Each letter different, the N is covered with a map that includes my, my husband, my mother and fathers birth cities. Cool right!? The A is aluminum with lights that light up! I found beautiful nursery furniture that are off white, and rustic with dark metal accents. Next was a car seat, stroller, diapers, changing pad, monitor, clothes etc. I was sparing no expense…
I could continue, but as you can see I was so excited to prepare for this baby. As the pregnancy went on there came a time I started to think about birth itself… I realized that I had to do something huge to get this baby here!
The thought scared the crap out of me to be honest! I am a nurse and have seen an epidural being given. I will spare details but I knew I didn’t want one because I was too scared. My mother had three natural births and that gave me hope I could do the same. I asked my midwife what I could do to prepare. She suggested I take a comprehensive childbirth class. This was the best decision we made during the pregnancy. My husband and I quickly realized how unprepared we were for labor.
Being a nurse I thought I knew a lot but really I didn’t know what it took to have a natural birth. Nutrition, exercise, relaxation, birth provider, birth team, etc etc. I also didn’t know my husband needed education. Wow, were our eyes opened up!
Yes, good education costs money. But if we think about what we are preparing for it really is saving us money. After the first ten minutes of class my husband and I were so excited and we immediately knew that the class was worth the money.
In 2016 students who took Birth Boot Camp’s ten week comprehensive class, 84% had a vaginal birth, of that percentage 76% had an unmedicated birth.
On my most recent hospital bill, one ibuprofen was $10… Think of all of the interventions that can be prevented by preparing for a natural birth, saving you money! Speaking for myself, I am in this business because I am crazy passionate about educating couples. Far too many women are robbed of great birth experiences. I want to help couples, one at a time, prepare for amazing experiences.
Not only do I prepare couples for great experiences, I help prepare them for all possibilities in labor. Labor is unpredictable, having great education will help you advocate for yourself in the event that interventions are needed.
Yes, babies need car seats and cute clothes! But first they need to be born into this world. You only get one chance to birth your baby. Education gives you the opportunity to prepare for a safe and amazing birth experience!
Birth and Pregnancy Classes
Paige Goldade - A Birth Boot Camp Instructor living and loving in South Dakota. She is a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers. She works as a childbirth educator and Board Certified Registered Nurse.