Find out what you can expect after labor and delivery.

Many pregnant women focus on labor and delivery and don’t think about what happens afterwards. Don’t fret. We’ve got the basics on what to expect once you’ve met your little bundle of joy.

Early breastfeeding
Before your milk comes in, you’ll produce a substance called colostrum. This is nutrient-rich and exactly what your baby needs. Begin nursing as soon as you can if you are able. WomensHealth.gov recommends telling your doctor or midwife that you would like to nurse immediately. Your brand new baby will have the instinct to suck and when your milk comes in, your breasts may be very enlarged and tender. Talk to a lactation consultant to help with any struggles you may have. It’s normal to need assistance.

Your body
After delivery, you’ll experience what feels like a heavy period. It will start out as heavy bleeding and over the course of a few days will change in color and consistency. This discharge is called lochia, and it’s totally normal. Stock up on menstrual pads or even adult diapers. You cannot use tampons after delivery. Your doctor or midwife should send you home with a squirt bottle to assist with hygiene and comfort. If you’ve had stitches, your medical care provider will give you aftercare instructions.

Your mood
Most women have heard of postpartum depression. When you learn about it, you may think it’s something that would never happen to you. Keep in mind that women can have postpartum depression or anxiety even if there’s no previous history of mental health issues. It’s normal to be fearful, crying, anxious or moody after delivery. According to Medline Plus, if these feelings persist beyond the first month or begin later, you should talk to your doctor. Don’t be ashamed of your feelings. Help is available and the symptoms can be relieved.

At our Women's Center, our experienced medical staff is committed to your care before, during and after the birth of your baby. If you would like to set up an appointment or find a doctor to speak with, call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral.

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