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8 Postpartum Symptoms Nobody Bothered To Tell Me

By emily |

When I was pregnant and expecting (especially for the first time), I was a sponge for all things birth related. I subscribed to every single daily maternity email newsletter I could find. In fact, one of the first things I did after peeing on that pregnancy stick was head on down to the book store to buy an obscene amount of “what to expect” books. And of course, each week I could tell you exactly what size fruit or vegetable corresponded with my unborn baby’s gestational growth rate.

Between all the books, blogs, chat rooms, and research, I felt overly prepared. In fact, I probably a bit of a know it all. Until I found out I was clueless.

Looking back in the not so distant past, there were a few things about my postpartum body that nobody bothered to mention. Not my sister-in-law, not my best friend, and certainly not my mother. All these people that were “close” to me, failed to give me the dirty on the first few weeks.

8 Postpartum Symptoms I never knew existed (until I experienced them):

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8 Postpartum Symptoms I Never Knew Existed

You might vomit.

When I was in labor, I vomited. And I think I might have pooped as well, while pushing the baby out. But believe me, if you're pushing a baby out of your lady parts, these things will be the least of your worries.

Since suffering from all of these symptoms I never knew existed, I’ve started talking about them with friends. I mean, if we can talk about our babies poops, why not our own, right?

Guess what I’ve learned? I’ve learned I’m not a freak at all, and everything I’ve experienced is completely normal.

And currently, my hair is falling out. Apparently this too is normal. But again, news to me.

What postpartum symptoms caught you totally off guard?

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About emily



Emily Elling is a corporate interior designer and freelance writer. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband and four unintentionally hilarious children. Emily also blogs at her personal blog, DesignHER Momma. Read bio and latest posts → Read emily's latest posts →

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33 thoughts on “8 Postpartum Symptoms Nobody Bothered To Tell Me

  1. Meagan says:

    Swollen feet. Ten times worse then 3rd trimester swelling, and it felt AWFUL like walking on water balloons. For about 2 weeks. The only part of his infancy I was glad for constant cluster feeding.

  2. Jennifer S says:

    I can’t imagine why the “afterpains” you mentioned are necessary. I was at home 3 hours after the birth of my daughter and no one came to my house to push on my uterus. And no one told me to do it to myself either.

  3. Della says:

    I didn’t hear about lochia until about 3-4 weeks before I gave birth to my first. Here, I thought I was golden because I had had no periods for 9 months and was unlikely to have one for a couple more because of breastfeeding, and voila… 6 week long period! What is UP people, do you think people won’t have babies if you don’t tell them? You can’t just sneak that kind of thing on a pregnant woman!

    Also, I wrote a whole blog post about the “bonding takes time” thing. Spoiler alert: I love my daughter like nobody else in the world.

  4. Erin says:

    How very, very slowly I would walk after a vaginal birth. We live in NYC and taking v to her first pedi appointment four blocks from our apartment was one of the longest walks of my life!

  5. Alley says:

    Yeah, I’m with Erin on the “walking slowly after the vag birth” part. I didn’t need an episiotomy (sp.), and I didn’t tear, but I DID (somehow) have a small tear in my vaginal wall, and tear in my urethra. So the swelling was awful. And having to urinate for a long time after (hell, I still have to be careful sometimes and my kid is 5 years old), I had to let the flow just be natural – forget trying to quicken your potty trip. Annoying, and quite painful the first few times that it caught me totally off-guard. Also, I wasn’t warned about how I had this wall of nausea hit me as soon as I pushed out my daughter (I was told it was due to hormones but Idk), and how the first post-partum menstrual whatever was going to be like a murder scene. Omg… it was insane.

  6. JennyC says:

    No one told me that you can break your tail bone during childbirth — which I did, apparently from the force of pushing down, but didn’t realize until after the fact. I was in SO much pain, couldn’t sit comfortably, and wasn’t allowed to drive for 8 weeks post-partum. It took about 4 months for it to heal. Why don’t they warn us about these things??

  7. Mary says:

    Definitely swollen feet – having had pitocin and other fluids pumped into me for my 30+ hour labor, my feet and legs looked more like elephant legs than mine for about 3 weeks after the birth… It’s only now, almost 3 months later, that I’m able to wear some of my pre-birth shoes!

  8. Katie says:

    YES to all of these…except the ring of fire. I have not had that due to the c-section. But oh mah lawd…after a c-section when they push on your ute? I almost punched the nurses. And i LOVED my nurses. I did tell them they need to stop referring to it as “massaging the uterus”…because if that is what massages felt like? No one would get them.

  9. Ashley T. says:

    The after pains was very painful no one told me that. I felt they were killing me pushing on me all the time. It was worst then having a baby. I couldn’t walk and thought i could and fell in the floor. When they say dont walk dont! I had some internal bleeding and they didn’t know. A few days later i had lost so much blood they had to give me a blood transfusion so back to the hospital. It was not fun bc i missed out of the first week with my baby. Make sure you have someone that will be able to help out. It was so nice my mom was there to take care of her.

  10. Mary B. says:

    Afterpains while nursing were the worst, but no one ever “massaged” my uterus after I gave birth…maybe it’s an American thing? An OB thing? It doesn’t seem like something my midwives would do unless they really needed to.

  11. Gayle Green says:

    After I had my son I was very sick. It wasn’t until 2 months after I had him and many ER and Doctor visits later that I found out that I had developed Pari/ Post Partum Cardiomyopathy (happens in 1 in 1,000 women with many diagnosed on the autopsy table), and because it was ignored I developed Congestive Heart Failure. This is all due to carrying and giving birth to my son. Believe it or not womens hearts take a beating.

  12. Sai says:

    Yeah the afterpains was weird no one told me that I knew the others cause my sis-in-law told me but oh well also the nurse will follow u to the restroom like the whole day and she will look in there while ur doing ur thing I’m a very private kind of person and they get all up in ur personal space >.<

  13. Lee says:

    The only thing that really scared me was losing my hair at 4 months post partum. I thought I was dying of some horrible disease and I would miss out on my child’s life. I remember crying in the shower so no one could hear, because I didn’t want to tell anyone I thought I was dying.


  14. Kathryn says:

    I had no after pains after birth and I had to have an episiotomy. I also left the hospital 12 hours after I had my baby and made a 4 hour car ride to New Orleans where my baby was med-flighted. It also was not painful to poop for me, even though I was worried about going after the episiotomy. I think it all depend on the woman and her pain tolerance with that stuff. But the rest I definitely agree with.

  15. Erin says:

    The copious amounts of bleeding afterwards was my biggest shock. I have three sisters who gave birth before I did. And, believe me, I thought they shared EVERYTHING in minute and repetitive detail. And not one of them mentioned the bleeding. And did I mention I get sick at the sight of blood? Even my own.

  16. melissa says:

    A lot of my friends who had vaginal births never experienced the “massaging of the uterus” but I did and I swore like a sailor. I thought it was just because I had a Csection.

  17. Candilnm says:

    No one told me that that the placenta could attach! And they did not inform me of how they would remove it manually…I would of considered drugs if I knew that, or at least told them to knock me out once they figured it wasn’t going to release.
    And someone certainly should of told me that if you hemorrhage your body will be too busy repairing itself and not producing milk to breastfeed, so that you don’t end up with a dehydrated newborn in the ER.

  18. StrawBerry says:

    I would also like to add the change your shirt 4 times in one night sweating and the smelling like an dirty old homeless man is camped out in your lady parts to that list. As for the after pains, I’ve never understood why they insist on pushing on you like that, what’s wrong with giving it a little time to see if nature runs it course first.

  19. Natalie says:

    Hahaha oh yes, the postpartum walk. Haha! My epidural didn’t work well with my first and boy they weren’t kidding when the nurses warned me about the ring of fire lol. I didnt get my uterus massaged either, but they did come and check it to make sure it was shrinking.

  20. Jennifer says:

    The ring of fire….just reading it made me laugh. I’m on my second go around and will never forget how much it hurts. And I’m going natural again. But it is so worth it.

  21. diane caso says:

    It really is very inportant just delivered mom have her belly massaged-though I agree that it sure does not feel like any massage, The walls of the uterus are full of blood vessels engorged with blood. When the placenta detatches, the vessels continue to bleed-keeping an eye on the fundus, and making sure it is well contracted , keep mom from developing a post-partum hemarrohage If baby is actively suckling, uterus usually clamps down on it’s own.

  22. Jess says:

    I think the only thing nobody ever told me no even the doctor was having my daughter stuck in my pelvis, getting induced into labor for 16 hours broke down on fever, being rushed into c-section and having to deal with the pain on being cut without the anesthesia working. At that moment I remembered cursing every single person in the room with me and after that I spent the 3 hours unconscious due to the pain killers they gave me.

  23. kim says:

    i cried all the time after i had both of my kids for about 6 weeks it was terrible id break apart at the drop of a hat

  24. Cattye says:

    Right after giving birth… I shook all over. So much so I was scared to hold my son right away because I was shaking so hard. The nurses told me it’s normal but NO ONE mentioned this could happen!

  25. Kelsey says:

    I had a C Section and the Doctor came in every morning bright and early to wake me up to to the”afterpains” method. Imagine just having a major surgery and now a line of staples in your lower abdomen and the Doctor coming in to push very deep into my uterus to be sure it was positioning back into the proper position. Let me tell you… it was by far THE most painful part of my recovery even though it lasted just a minute. It still gives me chills and brings back horrible memories!

  26. Samantha at ShesNotBroken says:

    No one told me how much fluid you can retain with an IV. I ended up with an IV for around 35 hours and I retained something like 25lbs of fluid. I weighed more when I left the hospital than I did when I arrived in labour. I remember crying because my feet were freezing, but were so swollen, I couldn’t fit socks over them.

  27. stephanie says:

    Still rubbing my stomach & not wanting any u no wat

  28. Grey says:

    The after pains. Were bad especially when I had my baby in the breast.

  29. Pascale says:

    Wow…except for the hair falling out (wich I lost by the handfuls!!) and the ring of fire (wich wasn’t too bad and was totally forgotten as soon as baby was out!), I didn’t have the other symptoms…and I gave birth 3 times! Last 2 were completely natural too! Last one I lost a ton of blood and almost had to go to the hospital, but my midwife stopped the bleeding. I fell in love with all 3 (even if I was afraid I wouldn’t for my second if it was a boy, but when I saw him, love at first sight!). After pains were new to me with #3 and more annoying than painful…got massaged and didn’t feel any pain at all (really yay!), first time, I was afraid I would be sore after giving birth, but I was so surprised when I didn’t feel anything (and I’d never heard of after pains either)!! Only weird thing is last time, probably because of the bloodloss, when I got up I was dizzy, and I felt so light!! Almost like walking on a trampoline…that was weird!!

  30. Cassie says:

    I was told most of it, but it really does not hit until you go through it for sure. I was surprised at the slow walk after having my son, and surprised at how complicated it was to use the restroom, and even roll over in bed because your muscles go through heck delivering a baby. I did recover pretty quick because I was up and walking as soon as my epidural wore off. The nurses actually did not bother me much at all because I was already up and at em shortly after the birth despite the agony. My son was in the NICU for a few days having his blood sugar monitored so i was not going to be in bed for sure when I had a child to feed.

  31. harlee says:

    being cold and shivering right after labour but i stayed in hospital for 12 hr after my first and no one ever massaged my stomach and i was home 2 hrs after my 2nd and no 1 did it then or told me 2

  32. JoJo says:

    Ummmm, I think you forgot one..Your Breasts will now look like the women’s in Magazines…. Unfortunately, National Geographic..Not Playboy!! :( …..

  33. Tiffany says:

    I totally agree with the swollen feet! My feet rarely swelled during pregnancy, but after 30+ hours of labor, pitocin, antibiotics, and fluid, my feet were HUGE. My husband, bless his heart, put lotion on my feet about three times a day. I drank a ton of water and walked (albeit slowly) around the neighborhood. Then, all of a sudden, GONE. Yeah, the swelling left when the night sweats started! WHAT??? No one told you about the night sweats from the hormone changes? Come on! Oh, and since I was on antibiotics, you would have thought they would have told me to watch for thrush with my newest addition. NOPE. He went to the pediatrician for his circumcision and we got to battle thrush, too. TWICE, because it came back. And, because I’m normally a pretty tough-skinned female, the crying at the drop of a hat! I had a big old messy cry in the middle of Wal-Mart because they didn’t have the right size nipple guard! At least I can laugh about it now. And even then, you’re in the middle of huge tears coming down your face and you’re thinking, “Why am I crying? This is not me! What’s going on?” Hormones. The amazing thing? I want and am perfectly willing to go through it all again for another one! Bring it on!

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