Weeks 3 & 4

The body aches, uterus cramps and engorgement have thankfully subsided, but it will still take some time to feel and look “normal” again. Things will slowly get easier, but remember that your body (including your hormones!) isn’t finished recuperating yet. The most you can do is to slowly take each day as they come and ask for help when you need it.

Physical Recuperation

  • Your bleeding should have significantly diminished to a white discharge-like substance or ceased all together.
  • If your discharge smells foul, call your doctor to rule out an infection.
  • Continue to avoid tampons until your uterus has fully shrunk and closed, usually by your six-week check up.
  • Avoid any heavy lifting until the six-week mark as well.
  • Your abdomen should have stopped cramping by now, so call your doctor if you start feeling pain.
  • Those recovering from a C-Section should be feeling much better than in the previous weeks, but continue to avoid heavy lifting and enlist as much help as possible around the house.
  • A C-Section incision site might still be a bit itchy, but call your doctor if the area swells, turns red or starts oozing.
  • No matter what kind of delivery you had, there’s one universal constant in new motherhood: exhaustion.
    • Because your baby will still be eating around-the-clock, continue to try and nap when the baby does.
    • Just because your baby is a full month old doesn’t mean you don’t need help from family and friends. In fact, this might be the time to ask for help more than ever if your baby starts to act colicky.
    • One of the most important things you can do for your exhaustion (besides, you know, sleeping) is eating a nutritionally balanced diet and drinking plenty of water. We know it can be difficult to find time for yourself when everything is about your baby, but this will make a world of difference. For nutrition and meal-planning advice, visit The Family Kitchen.
    • Don’t feel guilty about calling in delivery again – if it saves you time, then it’s worth it. Also consider signing up for a grocery delivery service. Time spent shopping could be spent sleeping.

Mental Health

The physical effects of labor and delivery are apparent for anyone to see, but it’s hard to grasp the mental and emotional havoc reeked by your out-of-whack pregnancy and postpartum hormones. Still, this mental recuperation is just as normal and expected as all of the bleeding, cramping and exhaustion.

  • If you’re still feeling depressed and disconnected, it’s more likely a case of postpartum depression (PPD) than the fleeting Baby Blues.
  • About 15 percent of women will be affected by PPD, and it can take months (or even a year) to develop.
  • PPD is strictly a result of fluctuating hormones and lifestyle stress – having nothing to do with your ability to handle motherhood. You might be more at risk if you suffered from a previous depression, have severe PMS and/or a family history of depression.
  • Symptoms of PPD include:
    • Appetite loss
    • Excessive crying
    • Feeling hopeless
    • Disconnection from your baby
    • Inability to sleep
    • Inability to stay awake
    • Disturbing thoughts about harming yourself or your baby
  • If these symptoms last for over two weeks, call your doctor about finding someone to talk with and/or taking medications. Help is widely available and absolutely crucial.
  • If you’re feeling more of an overwhelming cabin fever than depression, force yourself to get out of the house. Of course it takes a bit more preparation and packing, but the fresh air will do you and your baby some good.
  • This is a time to reach out to other moms in your community. One of the biggest contributors to tough emotional times is feeling isolated. Find a Mommy and Me group or another regular activity to start making connections.
  • Also make sure you allot yourself time to take a shower and get dressed for the day. Nothing will put you in a funk more than feeling funky.

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