Possible Physical Changes
Immediately after delivery: sweating, chills, cramping as uterus returns to normal size, fluid retention, exhaustion or fatigue. Up to first week: body soreness, sore, cracked nipples if breastfeeding. Throughout month: discomfort sitting and walking if you’ve had an episiotomy or a C-section, constipation and/or hemorrhoids, hot flashes, breast tenderness, engorgement.
Possible Emotional Changes
Elation, depression or both, alternately, fear of being inadequate, feeling overwhelmed by new responsibilities, feeling that postpartum life is anticlimactic.
Possible Appetite Changes
May feel ravenous if breastfeeding.
The Inside Story
Enlarged uterus, which shrinks rapidly (especially if you breastfeed), stretched out abdominal muscles, internal organs are returning to original locations.
Sleepiness, fatigue and/or exhaustion trying to juggle new duties and rest with Baby’s erratic sleep schedule. Grab naps whenever your baby sleeps, try to rest and relax during breastfeeding.
Rx for Stress
Join new-mothers’ exercise and/or stretching classes for moral support and to ease aches and pains, spend plenty of time with baby to help alleviate anxiety or post-pregnancy let down, sleep, get help.
Infection at incision sites or breasts if breastfeeding, malnutrition if you are breastfeeding and are not getting enough nutrients or calcium, dehydration.
Symptoms That Say “Call Your Doctor”
After fourth day following childbirth, heavy bleeding with clots at any time during next six weeks, fever, chest pain, pain or swelling in calves or thighs, lump or localized pain in breast, infected incisions, inability to urinate, painful or difficult urination, prolonged depression.