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Recovering from Labor and Delivery: Bruised and Beautiful


Woman Putting Her Hand On Her Pregnant Belly
Woman Putting Her Hand On Her Pregnant Belly

As a mother, your experiences while being pregnant are beyond measure. Pregnancy is a beautiful yet harsh journey that starts with morning sicknesses and continues to sleepless nights. It's no less than a roller coaster ride where you experience all sorts of emotions like heightened fear, extreme joy, butterflies, and so on.


You spent nine months watching your body grow and change. The craving sessions, the crying, the pain, and the nausea are all things that you know all too well. The experiences can be hard to deal with, which is why almost all women experience a level of depression after giving birth.


Your body starts recovering after labor, but it takes time and patience to endure the whole suffering. You only have to be consistent and optimistic with some important events to make recovery after the labor successful.


Here in this article, we'll let you go through all those important events you have to follow to recover from labor and delivery. So, let's start without any further ado!


 

In This Article

 

Recovering from Labor: Pre-Period


It is understandable to have low self-esteem after labor. Your body feels different and looks different. You may not fit in or feel confident wearing the clothes that you used to rock. Understanding that these changes are normal can help you gain confidence in yourself once again. Changes that occur in your body are both physical and mental.


The weight gain after labor feels so uncomfortable and that can be dealt with through effective ways of weight loss. Doing some reading about the postpartum period can help you feel more prepared and also help you face the oncoming challenges and changes.


Learning about these experiences can also help your partner and family understand what you are going through and enable them to take care of you and help you. It will also help you understand your own experiences better, and help you overcome them.



First Off, Stop Looking at Magazines


It’s not just unrealistic to look like those flawless glam models on a magazine cover that you often find yourself gazing at but it’s also unfair to yourself to set such standards. They are not real bodies and are often edited.


The edited version of women's bodies portrayed in these magazines leads women to undergo treatments like:

  • Laser

  • Microdermabrasion

  • Micro-needling

  • Cosmetic surgeries

  • Breast lifting, and so on


Although they have their advantages and disadvantages, they’re not worth the money if you only want them for a better body image. Not to mention that these treatments come along with a huge leaflet of dos and don’ts once you go through them. It will be hard for you to go through these surgeries and deal with the aftermath after labor.


Although you will mourn the body you had before childbirth, don't let yourself dwell too much on what other women's bodies look like. This will make you feel more upset and unhappy.

Everybody is perfect in their own way, and after pregnancy, bodies do change.

Although it can be a harsh truth, accepting it can help you work towards regaining your image after birth. Don’t expect to have the same body as before. Instead, try to aim for a healthy one. It is a lot safer to heal your wounds naturally, even if it takes time.


Woman Looking Outside While Feeling Sad
Woman Looking Outside While Feeling Sad

It Is Okay to Reach Out for Help


According to research, the article Identifying maternal needs following childbirth:


“All mothers – who experienced psychological distress and who did not – seemed to have similar needs during the postpartum period but at a different level of intensity. Indeed, young mothers feel a lack of support at different levels in the postpartum period.”


This means that even if you aren't struggling at the same level as another mother, you still deserve love and support. However, unfortunately, most mothers still don't receive the support they need from their loved ones and society.


Furthermore, “It is necessary to lift the taboo on the postnatal period and stop to idealize motherhood. Mothers should not be afraid to talk about their needs or to ask for help if they need it.


Health professionals but also fathers and mothers’ family and friends should be more attentive to the mothers’ needs”.


It doesn't make you a bad mother if you are unhappy with being a mother. It is absolutely normal to struggle while being a mother. Allowing yourself to be open about your experiences and struggles can help others better understand what you are going through.


Getting the help you need can help you overcome your struggles and accept motherhood in a beautiful light, without overlooking its harsh truth.



Brace Yourself, Mentally and Physically


Preparing yourself mentally for an unavoidable and back-breaking condition beforehand might make it easier to deal with when it happens. Most women scare themselves during pregnancy by reading about complications.


Although you shouldn't ignore the possibilities of struggles, being mentally ready can make it easier to prepare for. The “hope for the best but be prepared for the worst'' kind of attitude will prepare you for the worst circumstances.


Remember your body will not be burdened more than it can bear. Your body is built to deal with these changes, and it will only grow stronger. Initially, cramps, weakness, joint pain, hair loss, weight gain, vaginal bleeding, and a whole lot of other things will kick in (I know, it sounds scary) but will gradually heal.


Don’t be overwhelmed, it’s just a matter of time. Look at the tiny being that your body produced, and I can assure you, all that ordeal that you’re going through will ease.



Basic After-Birth Conditions to Watch Out for


Hormones


After the birth of your child, your body undergoes drastic hormonal changes which affect the functioning of your brain and body. Following are some hormones and their effects listed below:

  1. Oxytocin

  2. Thyroid

  3. Relaxin

  4. Estrogen and Progesterone


1. Oxytocin

This hormone is often called “the bonding hormone”. It is a strong hormone that acts as a chemical messenger in the brain. Oxytocin is the hormone that prepares a mother during pregnancy to bond with her child.


As soon as your baby is out of the womb and laid on your chest, a high amount of oxytocin is released which causes your temperature to rise, creating a mellow comfy space for the baby to snuggle. Your body is flooded with oxytocin while you breastfeed your child.


It is also the same hormone that often makes mothers become helicopter parents. Scientists have concluded animals with high levels of oxytocin tend to nurture their offspring better than those with lower levels.



2. Thyroid

It is a hormone that helps the body’s metabolism, keeps organs such as the brain, heart, and muscles working, regulates temperature, etc. It’s a rare condition diagnosed in women whose family members have a history of thyroiditis. Its symptoms are different through phases.


In the first phase (first 6 months after childbirth) experiencing excessive weight loss, anxiety, feeling warm, feeling anxious, rapid heart rate and excessive hair loss can happen.


In the second phase, experiencing weight gain, fatigue, depression, dry skin, constipation, muscle pain, and aversion to the cold are some signs. If these symptoms persist even after a year of childbirth, feel free to consult your doctor.



3. Relaxin

It is a hormone produced by the ovary and placenta, having prime effects on the female reproductive system and during pregnancy. During preparation for childbirth, it helps the ligaments soften and widens the cervix.


It can also have damaging effects on joints, especially the pelvis joints. (Making your hips stay wider). Relaxin also has similar effects on ligaments of other joints, such as the knee, which can make them more prone to injury.


Therefore, check your postpartum workout plan, making sure to keep exercise low-impact to avoid stressing the joints. It may take up to six months for your body to stabilize. Rest and minimize your activities to heal.



4. Estrogen and Progesterone

Right after giving birth your estrogen and progesterone levels drop, becoming a contributing factor to baby blues. It causes sadness, mood swings, irritation, and anxiety.

This phase usually dies away within a month or two.


Person Standing On Weight Machine
Person Standing On Weight Machine

Extra Pounds


Women normally gain 28 to 40 lbs. (11 to 16 kgs) during pregnancy. These extra pounds will cause stretch marks, varicose veins, and spider veins. Messaging gently with oil is effective in healing such marks.


Oils like argan oil, almond oil, and bitter orange oil can help with blood flow and break up the scar tissue which causes stretch marks. Compression socks or leggings can ease pain from a varicose vein after delivery.



Vaginal Changes


Dr. Suzy Elneil from UCH explains that after birth, “Your vagina will feel looser, softer, and more open.”


It also may look swollen or bruised, considering the fact a whole baby of the size of 19 to 21 inches long with a head circumference of about 13 ½ inches came out of it. Your vagina will naturally shrink down to its original size, however, it’ll never come back to its pre-birth shape.


Most women after delivery will have a wider vagina. You will most likely feel bummed about this but it’s alright. It’s natural to have these changes. Giving birth isn’t the walk in the park that people present it as.



Incontinence


There are two common reasons why women experience incontinence after childbirth. First, vaginal delivery can weaken the bladder muscles needed to pee and support tissue, leading to prolapse of the pelvic floor.


Second, signals that your bladder sends to your brain which tell your body to release urine may have been damaged enduring all the pressure and pushing during labor.




Constipation


This may be one of the side effects of all the pills that you’re popping. Drink a lot of water and other fluids. Take walks whenever possible.


Your doctor or midwife may also give you a stool softener as your pelvic muscles are still weak, it needs to be retrained. You are also not in a position to spend long hours in the bathroom because of the weak pelvic floor. It’ll take some time but you’ll regain your strength.



Hair Loss


A sudden increase in hormones during pregnancy may cause your hair to grow thick and look denser but once you deliver your child and your hormones normalize it might cause hair loss.


It takes about 3 to 4 months to regain your hair. Therefore, do not worry much about the fall-out, this condition is temporary.



Your Teeth and Eyes


Don’t hesitate and blame your changing hormones. It’s all because of them. Anything which changes with such intensity will have its out-turns.


According to The American Journal Of Public Health, a study was conducted about Exploring Potential Pathways Between Parity and Tooth Loss Among American Women which concluded that the women who reported more births had more missing teeth than did women who reported fewer births.


“Dental problems include enlarged gums and more bleeding due to increased blood flow and hormonal fluctuation, women having morning sickness can also wear away the enamel on the tooth, and hormonal changes affect the microbiome.”


Therefore, it is important to take good care of your dental hygiene during and after pregnancy. Blurry images or dry eyes are also one of the gifts of hormonal changes. Make sure to book an appointment with your optometrist if any of the side effects persist.



Remember


“Some of your hormones go from the highest they ever will be to the lowest, just before delivery to just after,”

Ann Dunnewold, a Dallas psychologist and co-author of



So, if you find yourself all over the place, stressed, directionless, and panicking over little things, don’t let it bring you down. It’s the hormones that are playing with you pretty well.

That being the case, the only thing that you should tell yourself is “just keep swimming!”



FAQs


1. How much time is required is to recover after delivery?

Mostly, it is considered to be six weeks after delivery for the proper recovery.


2. Can we perform Islamic rites right after the delivery in Islam?

In Islam, the mother after postpartum is prohibited to make any of the Islamic rites for at least a period of 40 days. She also has a relief from household duties. After that period, they take Gusal and can perform any of the Islamic rite.


3. How much time complete bed rest is recommended after postpartum?

Mostly, it is recommended to completely bed rest for a week after postpartum but in some households, the midwives can't follow it because of her other children.



Takeaway


Pregnancy and labor come with their own miracles and miseries. All these make you more worthy and become a better version of yourself, you just have to believe in them. Recovering from labor and delivery takes a lot, but it's not an unattainable task. By following the above routine and taking certain measures, you'll recover from labor and after delivery very soon, you pretty Mom!

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