6 Surprising Postpartum Symptoms

What You Don't Know About Postpartum May Surprise You

new mom with baby
Photo © JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images

The postpartum period is something that tends to get glossed over. I mean, you're not pregnant and there's a baby to take care of, so what else is there? Right?

he truth is, there are huge physical, mental and emotional adjustments to deal with during the postpartum period. These changes involve the whole family. When you do see something about postpartum needs, it tends to focus on the parenting aspects or postpartum depression.

Though there are many other surprises about postpartum life that you may not know about yet:

  1. Bleeding
    After you have a baby, you bleed. You do this whether you had a vaginal birth or a c-section. The bleeding comes from the healing area where the placenta was located. The first few days of bleeding are very heavy, usually worse than your period. After that it changes in amount and color, lasting about 4-6 weeks typically.
  2. Crying
    Your hormones will go wacko. It's okay. Just be prepared. Many moms find themselves crying unexpectedly, even when they would normally say they were happy. I remember crying because my three day old baby would never be three days old again. My husband just stared at me. Thankfully, we both started laughing a few seconds later.
  3. Sweating
    The hormones also cause you to sweat, usually at night. You wake up hot and sticky. Keep a clean night shirt nearby for middle of the night changes if you need to do so.
  1. Swelling
    Swelling is often associated with pregnancy, but after you have a baby you can have swelling too as your body rids itself of excess fluids. This is particularly true if you have been given IV fluids in labor. The fluid has to go somewhere!
  2. Big Belly
    Yes, you just gave birth to the baby and the placenta, not to mention all the amniotic fluid, but your uterus is still about the same size as it was at about the six month mark. Don't pack your skinny jeans for the hospital, yoga pants or maternity pants are best. You'll see the reduction soon.
  1. Bliss
    In preparing for the worst sometimes we forget that there can also be periods of wondrous happiness. It's perfectly normal and fine. Enjoy it and remember it. These are your baby's first days, spend time getting to know your new baby and let the rest of the world fall by the wayside.


Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. Gabbe, S, Niebyl, J, Simpson, JL. Fifth Edition.

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