What happens to your body after you give birth is something we seldom talk about. I think we are so wrapped up in the act of actually giving birth and the excitement around it, we forget there is an unpleasant period after giving birth. What does our bodies actually endure during labor and delivery and what do our bodies go through after this miraculous event?
No matter how many babies you have birthed, your body still goes through the same things. Isn’t it amazing what a mothers body can do? We literally bring a human being into this world. That is just a crazy thing to think about. What once was nothing is now this beautiful joy in your life!
First lets talk about what happens to our bodies during labor and delivery. What do us mamas actually go through to bring our baby into our worlds.
Labor and Delivery
I know delivering a baby is a scary concept for you, no matter how many babies you’ve had! Just like most things, the scariest part is the unknown and we can’t know what its like until we have actually gone through it. I know you’ve heard this before but every pregnancy is different and the same goes with labor and delivery. You may have done things one way with your first birth but may want to do things differently with the rest or maybe you have no choice what happens during the birth of your baby. Here’s what happens during labor and delivery.
Don’t be unprepared! Check out my free resource library to print this awesome postpartum recovery shopping list along with a hospital bag checklist.
1. Those dreaded contractions
This was the scariest part for me! I’ve heard so many stories of the pain that comes from those dreaded contractions. Contractions are when your abdominal area becomes hard for a period of time accompanied with increased pain. It’s kind of amazing how they work if you think about it. The contractions are actually pushing your baby farther down closer to the birth canal. This video sums up what happens during a contraction pretty well using a balloon and ball to better explain. In fact its the same video I watched as I was preparing for the birth of my son and I found it very enlightening.
2. Effacement and Dilation
Effacement is when your cervix thins to prepare for delivery. As the baby’s head drops closer to the birth canal it pushes against your cervix thus thinning it out. Effacement is measured in percentages with 100% being fully effaced. Dilation is when your cervix starts to open, this happens only after your cervix starts to efface. Dilation is measured in centimeter with 10 being fully dilated. You must be fully dilated to deliver your baby vaginally.
3. Delivering your baby
Once you are fully dilated and effaced you can begin pushing your baby out and into this world. If you chose an epidural (I totally did) then you should only feel pressure at this point (unless you had a faulty epidural). When I had my epidural it only stopped the pain from the contractions for a short while because of the position of my baby. Thankfully once I started pushing and his position changed I didn’t feel the contractions. Now that you have delivered your baby comes the next (not so fun) part!
4. Delivering the placenta
I never even knew this was a thing until I had my baby. Once your baby is born you have to deliver the placenta (which is what helped protect your baby during your pregnancy). This was the single worst part of the whole experience for me! In order to loosen the placenta from your uterine walls, the nurse or midwife (or who ever you chose to help with the birth) will begin pushing on your stomach… Hard! This will be done every few minutes for about a half hour. The placenta will then come out or some mamas will have to push it out!
Congratulations, you just gave birth to a beautiful baby! There is no greater joy than that! Babies can bring so much happiness into our lives! But now what happens to your body postpartum?
What happens to your body postpartum
The biggest thing to focus on after having a baby (besides caring and loving them) is caring for your body to help it heal easier. Check out this post on how you can have an easier time healing postpartum!
Do you every wonder what happens to your body after you give birth? Your body doesn’t just go back to normal right away. It can take time, a long time! It wasn’t until about 8 months postpartum that I started feeling like myself again.
Did you know you will still have contractions after giving birth? Your body is trying to shrink your uterus back to its normal size and the only way to do that is by contracting it or also known as after pains. Don’t worry, its not as intense as the real thing. Think of it as intense period cramps. This usually takes a couple of weeks but most of the time you wont even notice the contractions!
2. Postpartum bleeding
This is a given, every mama will have a postpartum period. Some mamas only bleed for a short while, while others for longer. This will depend on if your breastfeeding or not! If you do breastfeed your baby, your postpartum period may be shorter and you may not even get your regular cycle until your done breastfeeding. Speaking of breastfeeding, here is a post I wrote on a couple big reasons breastfeeding is a good idea! The benefits are just amazing for your growing baby!
Your body just went through somewhat of a traumatic event (at least traumatic on your body) and now its trying to figure out how to become normal again. Night sweats, baby blues, low sex drive and even hair loss are normal after having a baby (dang hormones). Keep pushing forward because your body will eventually balance out and you will start to feel your new normal again!
4. Engorged breasts
Weather you decide to breastfeed or not your body will produce milk for your baby. Your breasts will start produce colostrum 3-4 months into pregnancy and will be what you feed your baby (if you choose to breastfeed) the first couple days after birth. Colostrum is full of protein, nutrients and antibodies for your baby. Your body won’t actually produce milk until a couple days after delivering your baby.
There are ways to dry up your milk supply should you choose not to breastfeed such as putting cabbage leaves in your bra. I do encourage you to try and breastfeed as its very healthy option and gives your baby exactly what they need when they need it and creates a unique bond between you and your baby. However as long as your feeding your baby than you are doing everything right and I am so proud of you for doing the best for your baby!
Mamas, we go through so much to have our babies. But isn’t it totally worth every minute of the discomfort we go through?
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