Did You Know After Eight Months, Your Baby…
- is about 20 inches long and weighs about 5 1/2 pounds?
- has full-grown toenails and fingernails?
- sucks his or her thumb while in the womb?
- has accumulated enough fat to make his or her skin opaque and not see-through?
Once you have completed your pregnancy, some effects of your pregnancy will still linger for several weeks, which may include the following:
- For at least a couple of weeks after delivery, you will likely notice discharges of blood, blood clots and various tissues from your uterus. This is known as "lochia" and is a natural part of the postpartum process. Be sure to use maxi pads to absorb any bleeding; do not use tampons.
Also keep in mind that heavier flows are normal and usually aren't an indication that something is wrong. They are usually caused by laying in a position for too long, which accumulates blood and releases it all at once.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- you notice large amounts of bright red blood.
- bleeding saturates an entire pad per hour for a couple of hours.
- blood has an unusual smell.
- blood clots are very large.
- bleeding persists over several weeks and shows no signs of slowing down.
- You will likely feel "afterpains" for up to a week following delivery. These afterpains are the result of the uterus' contractions as it begins to decrease in size and descends back into your pelvis. These contractions also help reduce bleeding.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- afterpains don't subside after a week.
- you experience sharp chest pains.
- you are experiencing any unusual abdominal pain.
- After birth, it is common for women to have trouble with their first postpartum bowel movement. Often times it is a physical issue (abdominal muscles are strained; bowels were relieved prior to or during delivery), but many times it is a psychological issue such as the fear of tearing any stitches.
To cure postpartum constipation, be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink enough water, get a little bit active and use stool softeners. Speak to your doctor if you are constipated for more than a couple of days.
- After delivery, women will often notice their breasts continue to grow as they produce their first round of milk. This can leave breasts and nipples feeling very tender and sore as they continue to stretch.
If you are planning on breastfeeding, your breasts will likely begin feeling less sore as you continue to nurse your baby. However, those first couple of days to one week can be painful. If the pain continues, contact your doctor.
To minimize breast soreness, try the following while breastfeeding:
- Using a washcloth, dampen the areola with warm water prior to breastfeeding.
- During breastfeeding, message your breast to help encourage milk flow.
- After nursing, place an ice pack on your breasts to help reduce breast engorgement.
- Stay with it and allow your baby to finish nursing, which will help reduce breast engorgement sooner.
If you are not planning on breastfeeding, your body will naturally stop producing milk and the pain should subside in just a few days. To limit soreness and breast engorgement, try placing ice packs and even cabbage leaves on your breasts, and wear a tight sports bra.
Following you and your baby's release from the hospital, you will likely see your doctor again at the six-week checkup, if not sooner. This is a very important doctor visit to make sure you are healing properly, even if you are feeling fine.
Your doctor will perform general physical tests and will ask you questions about how you have been feeling after delivery. Your doctor will also discuss your diet and appropriate exercises moving forward, as well as any kegel exercises you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
This is also a great time for you to ask any lingering questions that have been on your mind over the past several weeks.
Also, remember if you are still unsure of whether you are ready to parent, adoption is always available no matter what stage you are at in your pregnancy. You may always contact an adoption agency or adoption attorney with no obligation to proceed.