Finally, the baby is here! The large bump on your body is gone, and the new life is now in your hands. Thus, you have successfully entered 1 Week Postpartum phase.
Whether you’ve had your first or your fourth child, the excitement, thrill and exhaustion will overwhelm you now.
Naturally, you will dedicate most of your time to the newborn – because you have to, and because you want to.
Your child needs you. It is completely helpless and you are its mother, its guardian and the center of its world.
However, you must remember that you need you as well!
Getting a baby is one of the most wonderful and amazing things in the world. It IS one of the most stressful things to handle as well. Especially for the mother, who undergoes not only emotional and lifestyle changes, but also physiological, hormonal and psychological changes.
Your family needs you to take care of yourself, to stay healthy, content and happy.
- 2 Weeks Postpartum – Forming Habits
- 3 Weeks Postpartum – Adjusting to Lifestyle Changes
- 4 Weeks Postpartum – Your First Prenatal Appointment
- 5 Weeks Postpartum – Feeling higher energy levels
- 6 Weeks Postpartum – Getting back in shape
- 7 Weeks Postpartum – Making dietary changes
- 8 Weeks Postpartum – An End & Two Months Already
- Postpartum Anxiety Symptoms and Causes – What, How and When?
We will discuss:
- body health,
- mental health,
- diet suggestions, and
- physical activity.
Reminder: No advice is universal
You should listen to your own body and emotions and try to adjust your everyday life in a way that feels right to you.
In this article, we will try to answer numerous questions you might have about expectations, appropriate behaviors, and solutions to some problems you might experience in 1 week postpartum phase or after the delivery.
1 Week Postpartum Pain ( Pelvic Pain and Other Types of Pain ):
In the previous nine months, your body went through a lot of change.
There were (or still are) more visible changes, like weight gain, skin stretch, and your breasts getting larger. There are those invisible hormonal changes too.
Following the baby delivery brings an even bigger shock for the body.
Whether you have experienced a vaginal delivery, or undergone a Caesarean section, you will almost certainly feel sore for a few days.
If you have had a vaginal tear and needed stitches, the pain and discomfort can be more intense.
Be careful while sitting down: You can use a pillow or a padded ring, if the ordinary seat feels uncomfortable.
Lie on your side: Your back experienced a lot of pressure, try to keep your back muscles relaxed as much as you can.
Bath can generally help: Especially if you’ve had a tearing or cut. Use warm water only without any products.
Keep the wound cool with an ice pack: Only if you feel uncomfortable or sore.
You might need painkillers: Make sure to consult your doctor first, especially if you are breastfeeding.
Beside the pain from the delivery, you will also experience contractions called afterpains, which actually represent shrinking of the uterus. It takes 6 to 8 weeks for the uterus to shrink to the previous size.
Vaginal discharge or bleeding:
Vaginal bleeding lasts about 2 to 4 weeks after the birth.
In the first week, you will experience heavier blood or water discharge, especially during the first day.
You will need maternal pads, and make sure to change them regularly. Also, there might be some clots in the first week, which is also normal. It is not a bad idea to mention them to your doctor or midwife.
Loose or Stretched Abdomen:
Your abdomen will appear larger and looser after the delivery.
You might find that your body has changed in some other ways as well. Understand that your muscles are now stretched but this is something that will change soon enough.
Your breasts also go through a lot of change during pregnancy – they become larger, more sensitive, and they can have visible veins and stretch marks. For the first couple of days, breasts produce colostrums – the first milk that looks like a yellowish liquid.
On the third or fourth day, you will start producing regular milk, and your breasts might feel heavier and tenderer. Supportive bra might help ease this feeling. Also, breast pump can be a good idea as well.
If you are not breastfeeding, you should wear a firm bra in order to stop the production of the milk. However, breastfeeding or not, there will probably be some milk leaking, so wear the nursing pads inside your bra to avoid feeling uncomfortable.
Frequent Loo Visits:
Going to the toilet after the birth probably sounds like a bad idea, but you will actually feel much better if you drink more water and urinate more frequently. If you feel sore and have a larger wound, it might be a good idea to pour warm water over your vulva during urination.
You might not need to empty your bowels for a couple of days after the delivery, and when you do, press the clean cloth firmly against the wound. Also, you might need a stool softener or a laxative in order to avoid or help hemorrhoids, which often appear after birth.
Within your 1 week postpartum journey, you might experience incontinence or a pressure in your pelvic area. This is completely normal consequence of stretching your muscles, but in order to feel better you should so pelvic exercises.
Postpartum Depression or Baby blues:
The birth of a child is a happy event, one of the best. However, hormonal changes, as well as stress from the delivery and from the life-changing event might cause mild or more severe issues in your mental health. Baby blues is a name for the symptoms of sadness and irritation that appear after the delivery, peaking most often on the day 4.
At 1 Week Postpartum, the depression symptoms usually include:
- Sleeping problems
- Mood swings
- Crying easily
- Problems with concentrations.
Generally, these symptoms will fade away in about two weeks.
In order to manage them, you should try to eat healthy, have enough sleep (or at least relaxation, if you cannot sleep well), and rely on the support from your family and friends.
Allow others to help you when you feel overwhelmed and sad or irritable.
Your activities are very limited in the first week, but try to move as much as you feel comfortable, and do the things that relax you, like reading a book, watching the TV or chatting over the phone.
Try to stay aware of all the changes that your body went through, and try to understand all the changes you experience.
In the first few weeks, both you and your partner will be primarily focused on the baby, especially if you are first-time parents. And that is how it should be.
Later you will face numerous challenges as a pair – lack of time, parenthood decisions, intimacy and time together.
But in the first week, you do not have to worry about this. However, try not to lose the connection with your partner, even in those hectic first days. Talk as much as you can, share how you feel, and ask for help. This will be a good basis for the times ahead of you.
Body image issues:
Some women experience quite a shock when they look at themselves in the mirror after the delivery. This is particularly true for the women who have undergone Caesarean section. Surely, your reflection will not be the one of the body you knew for so many years. You have changed. Body identity is very important, and extreme changes in it can cause stress.
Some of the changes, but not all of them, are reversible. However, it is important to know that the first week is not the time to be concerned about this. If you are too uncomfortable by your own reflection – don’t look.
First, your body will heal by itself in the few weeks. And second, breastfeeding, healthy food and taking care of the baby will also help you regain some of the old look without even trying.
Nobody has to tell you that you should eat healthy, you know that. However, after the childbirth, you will have to adjust your diet to the needs of your changed body.
In the first week, you will need to eat smaller meals, and a light food, as going to the toilet can be quite tricky.
You will need lots of water and fibers (fresh fruit and vegetables) in order to prevent constipation, and you should avoid caffeine. Generally, you need proteins, carbohydrates and fats – all of them.
The following super foods should always be present in a new mother’s diet:
- Proteins – meat, seafood, eggs, dairy, legumes and soy, nuts
- Carbohydrates – whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruit
- Fats – olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish
Make sure to have meals as variable as you can, in order to be sure to replenish all the nutrients you might lack.
Iron, Vitamin C, Fiber and Omega-3-acid are some of the nutrients you might need.
You can get them from food, but you might also want to consult your doctor and check if they think you need to take some supplements.
Listen to what your body is trying to tell you, eat when you are hungry, but try to eat less and more often. If you are breastfeeding, you will perhaps need more calories than women who are not, but don’t eat when you don’t feel hunger. Your body will tell you when it needs more food.
If you are taking any prescription drugs, you should consult your doctor, especially if you are breastfeeding.
Generally, they will become aware of this during the pregnancy.
Don’t be afraid to ask them once again about the medication.
Changes in Physical Activities:
During the first week you will definitely not be able to exercise, and you should not even consider it.
However, independently of the difficulty of the delivery, you will be advised to start moving as soon as you can.
Do not lift heavy objects. Do not make sudden moves or do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
You should walk around the room, or even go outside for a couple of minutes.
Moving will speed up the healing, and your muscles will tighten faster.
The one exercise you should do as soon as you feel able are pelvic muscles exercises.
They will help the incontinence and feeling of pressure, and they will even help recovery of the wound.
During the first week after the childbirth, you will experience a panoply of emotions, as well as numerous physical changes and discomforts.
It is important to let your body heal, and to relax as much as you can.
Remember – not all women feel the same, and not all women will need to behave in the same manner.
Try to do whatever feels right, give yourself time to heal, and try to enjoy these first days with your baby as much as you can.
Ask for help whenever you need it. Your partner, family and friends will be glad to help you. If you have any feeling that something is out of ordinary, do not hesitate to contact your doctor.