Two-thirds of babies born in the United States are through vaginal deliveries. You have always heard that this type of delivery is easier than a C-section, especially the recovery. Since every woman is different, and many vaginal deliveries can take hours or even days, it can vary from woman to woman, but there are common things to be aware of. Here’s what to expect while recovering from vaginal delivery.
It Took Nine Months to Deliver …
It stands to reason it will take at least nine months (or longer) to recover after everything that has changed in your body. Give yourself a break, it won’t happen overnight. Don’t try to hurry your recovery. It will take as much time as needed, and you will be better for it. So will that little person you just brought into the world. Caring for your baby and YOURSELF should be your priority throughout recovery.
The first 6 weeks after giving birth are known as the postpartum period. Some researchers believe this can actually last up to 6 months. Expect you will go through hormonal mood changes as you heal. Add in breastfeeding and lack of sleep, and oh yeah, being a mom. This is the perfect time to bond with your baby, but recognize you may become stressed with all the changes.
Let’s look at other things to expect while recovering from vaginal delivery.
Things to Expect While Recovering From Vaginal Delivery
Expect Vaginal Soreness
During delivery the area between your vagina and rectum called the perineum can stretch out or even tear. If you needed an episiotomy to help ease the baby out, your OBGYN may have cut that piece of skin and stitched it closed. That is going to hurt for a while. Use a soft pillow to sit on and a cold pack to stop swelling. Keep a squirt bottle of warm water to use after peeing and keep the area clean.
You May Have Some Discharge
Expect some discharge or bleeding for several weeks being heaviest in the first 10 days. This will taper off to light bleeding and spotting within 6 weeks. Only use sanitary pads during this time; do not use tampons.
Constipation Is Common
You may have trouble moving your bowels during the postpartum period. You might be anxious about it if you have stitches down there. Drink a lot of water and boost your fiber intake.
Diarrhea Is Also Common
Leaking gas and poop can occur. Ask your OBGYN to prescribe medication if you have this issue.
Difficulty Urinating or Bladder Leakage Can Occur
Delivery can stretch out your urethra making it harder to pee even when you have the urge. You may also notice some incontinence (or bladder leakage) for a while, but it will go away with time.
Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression
You may experience a feeling of being down or anxious sometimes called the “baby blues.” You may have symptoms of mood swings, crying spells, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping all due to hormonal changes. Don’t allow these feelings to overwhelm you.
Contact Capital Women’s Care before it becomes more serious, and especially if your symptoms:
- Persist beyond two weeks.
- Intensify over time.
- Interfere with your ability to care for your baby.
- Hinder the completion of daily tasks.
- Involve thoughts of self-harm or harm to your baby.
Postpartum depression is common, but treatment will help.
Other Common Changes
Other changes to expect include:
- Breast soreness and swelling
- Hair and skin changes
- The feeling of cramps or contractions
- Feeling bloated
When to Be Concerned
If you find you have pain or tenderness that is getting worse, a fever or chills, heavy bleeding with large clots, breast redness, flu-like symptoms, or worsening depression, see an OBGYN in Rockville and Silver Spring as soon as you can. Don’t wait!