It’s been 4 weeks postpartum since this exciting journey started since your delivery. You have experienced a variety of beautiful, painful and challenging moments by now. You are probably tired and crave sleep within your 4 weeks postpartum journey and might miss chatting with your friends or going out for a cup of coffee.
In other words, you would really like to wear something that is not covered in baby vomit. However, you wouldn’t change this for the world, as you are one happy mom.
This week i.e. 4 weeks postpartum, will bring some new changes when it comes to your body. The worst part is behind you, but there are still some annoyances that can disturb you for a brief moment.
The important thing is to remember that all of this is temporary. You might take few weeks to few months to completely overcome postpartum symptoms, but eventually you will return to your old looks and ways.
Four weeks after the delivery the wound should be completely healed. This means the discomfort following sitting down, moving or exercising should also be gone. However, if you’ve had a Caesarian section, things are a bit different.
Caesarean section is a major operation that leaves larger scar, which takes longer to heal. You might occasionally experience sensations of pulling and twitching, and even brief pain, mostly related to movement. These are not dangerous, not should they be intense. C-section scars can sometimes be felt for years after the delivery, but not in a painful way, so you should be able to live with it.
At this time, your uterus is almost back to its pre-pregnancy size (or it is already completely back to normal). That means that any feelings of sensitivity should be gone by now.
You are probably much more satisfied when you take a glance at the mirror.
While you muscles are still stretched, and so is your stomach, you’ve lost a significant portion of your body weight. Also, darker pigmentation around your nipples is starting to fade away (although it will never disappear completely), as well as linea nigra, the dark line on your stomach.
Stretch marks on your breasts, belly or thighs are still there – red and not very pretty, but those will also fade eventually.
There might be some new events concerning your body, and they are not very good. The thing is, you might look like you’ve hit the puberty again.
Many women notice that their skin was very clear and soft during pregnancy – but now, four weeks after the baby was born, the outbursts are possible.
These are also temporary, a consequence of hormonal changes, and they are nothing but a minor (and very annoying) disturbance.
During postpartum period, you will not have lots of good hair days. Decreasing estrogen levels might cause your hair to become thinner. This is also temporary, but be prepared for this. Avoid experimenting with your hair at this time – the results can be unpredictable and you don’t need that at this moment.
Energy level is an individual thing, something that varies greatly with time and occasion. First of all, not all women are full of energy. Whether they are not pregnant or within their postpartum phase – some need more rest, while others are very strong and energetic.
Having a baby can change all this – you will generally experience fatigue and lack of energy, but the length and intensity of this condition are not easily predicted.
Since energy levels at new mothers are not universal, there is no universal advice on what you can and cannot do.
The main thing is to notice the signals that your body is sending. If you feel tired, you should get rest, and if you feel energetic, you might want to go for a walk, exercise or even finish some chores. Be careful not to over-perform, as today’s actions can affect your strength tomorrow – and you will have to change and feed the baby and change and feed yourself tomorrow as well.
Set the priorities – and those priorities are you and your baby. Here are some advices how to rationalize your time and energy:
- Sleep when your baby sleeps. Although these might not be ideal times for you, it’s better to sleep than not.
- Be rational with space – keep your baby close at night, so you don’t have to get up for night feeding
- You need company – but feel free to tell your friends that you are not able to entertain them if you are too tired
- Go for a walk, even if you don’t feel like it. This will increase your energy level as well as your mood.
- Fourth week is an ideal time to start introducing bottle feeding if you have been breastfeeding so far. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up breastfeeding – only that you should have another option.
After four weeks with your baby, you feel much more confident and at ease concerning baby-care. You are in control, and your body is also in much better shape. The influence of hormonal change on your mental status is gone by now – and so is the baby blues. However, if you are one of the women who experience postpartum depression, these might be hard times for you. Hopefully, you’ve already consulted the doctor and received some advices and therapy.
Postpartum period can reflect on your relationship with your partner. Some men are not very skilled in house chores, cooking, or even recognizing baby’s needs. Yet, they need to help you, and most of them are really willing to do it. While you are both tired and preoccupied with the baby and all the changes it brought to your life, make some time to communicate. Do not neglect your relationship and be kind to each other.
Although you feel much better, you shouldn’t give up on healthy food. It will give you enough energy, and it is especially important for those mothers who breastfeed. Healthy food is generally better for your figure as well. This is not the time to go on a diet, although you can and should be cautious not to take too much food at once.
Coffee and alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy, and you probably miss them a lot. If you are not breastfeeding, these drinks will influence only yourself. You can drink them, but not excessively, as you are still in a recovery period and they might affect you stronger than usual. Researchers suggest that breastfeeding mothers should continue avoiding coffee and alcohol.
There is no general agreement on the amount of physical activity that you can practice during postpartum period. While some claim that you might even practice light aerobic during week four, other advise you to postpone exercising until week 6. The best advice is to listen to your body, and stop exercising if you feel any significant discomfort. Things that you should definitively avoid are swimming and exercises that burden your stomach muscles too much – especially if you’ve had c-section or a tear.
Many women feel very good when they reach 4 weeks postpartum phase. But if you are not one of them, and still need lots of attention and rest, don’t feel bad about yourself. The important thing is that you feel good about yourself and your motherhood, and the body will heal at its own pace. Remember to take care about yourself, and ask for help whenever you need it.