5. Your postpartum uterus will be overweight
Your uterus weighs between 2 and 3 pounds immediately following the birth of your placenta and is about the size of a grapefruit. By the end of two weeks, it is about half that weight, and returns to its normal prepregnant weight of 2 to 3 ½ ounces by around 6 weeks. During this time you experience “afterpains,” which are contractions that help your uterus to shrink. Ways to help with the pains include a heating pad or rice sock, ibuprofen or prescription pain medication, and/or Arnica homeopathic tablets.
4. A wound the size of a dinner plate
Your placenta leaves behind an open wound in your uterus where it was attached. This postpartum wound, like any other wound, is prone to infection. This is why it is recommended that you not use anything internal such as tampons or menstrual cups immediately following your birth. Check out our favorite postpartum pads here.
3. You might want…
Sex! Like, immediately. Or you might not. At all. For a long time. Some women experience a period of extreme arousal following the birth of their child, while others experience an extreme drop in libido, and everything in between. Soreness, a demanding baby, a lack of sleep, and dryness due to hormonal changes in the postpartum period can all add up to not feeling like being intimate for a long time. You still deserve love and connection during this time! Be open and honest with your partner about your feelings and needs. Recognize that your partner may still have the same sex drive as always and work through ways to accommodate any mismatch. If you are up for some lovin’, know that the often cited 6-week waiting period is somewhat arbitrary. Talk to your care provider about signs that you may be safe to resume activity such as decrease in bleeding and healed stitches/tearing. When you do resume activity, go slow, and don’t be afraid to stock up on this.
2. You might also want…
Another baby! Right now. You might be talking about it while you are still holding that fresh newborn. As doulas, I can’t tell you how often we hear mothers planning their next baby while their newborn is still attached to their bodies! Although we have also heard plenty of mothers planning the exact opposite…I’ve heard the word vasectomy thrown around a few times postpartum! Whatever your plans, we love this book to guide the way, along with any other fertility methods or birth control you may desire to use.
1. You. Will. Cry.
Okay, that might be a little dramatic. After your placenta leaves your body, you experience a sudden drop in hormones, as well as changes in amino acids, neurotransmitters, and thyroid hormones. There’s a lot going on! Postpartum hormone changes + lack of sleep + stress of caring for a new life = mood swings. Usually day 3 after birth is the hardest day and most women find their symptoms improve gradually over the course of the next two weeks. It is when the symptoms last longer than two weeks that postpartum depression or thyroid issues may be the culprit. Learn more about how placenta encapsulation can help with these feelings and more!