If you’re a new mother, you may be experiencing all sorts of symptoms you weren’t expecting after giving birth. Sure, everyone knows your stomach will take a while to flatten out again, and soreness around the site of your episiotomy or C-section scar is totally expected. You probably expected to be tired a lot, due to middle-of-the-night feedings, and if you’re breastfeeding you didn’t expect that to be a walk in the park, either.
Aside from all the usual, expected symptoms, you may also be noticing some things that surprise you. Many new mothers never expected to have sore arms and upper back pain, but it is probably happening to you. It makes sense, when you think about how much time you spend holding and carrying around your baby every day. It also may be due to your hands-free baby carrier. Some of these devices work great, but others only add to strain on your back by distributing the weight in the wrong way.
You may also notice your hair falling out, dull skin, and brittle fingernails. This is usually due to a depletion of nutrients. Making a baby takes a lot out of your body, and if you’re breastfeeding you will continue to drain yourself of important nutrients. Keep taking those prenatal vitamins, and make sure to eat healthy, balanced meals as well.
You probably thought you’d be relieved to get the bowling ball weight out of your belly and feel back to your normal self – but now you find yourself feeling weepy about not being pregnant anymore. What’s that all about? In a word, hormones. After you give birth, all those pregnancy hormones aren’t being produced anymore, and the levels rapidly decline in your body. This all leads to one big case of the “baby blues”, as they are commonly called. Normally these feelings will last a week or two after birth, but if you find them lasting much longer than that, or if you have thoughts that seem unusually dark or disturbing, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of more serious postpartum depression.
Usually your body takes just a month or so to adjust to its new demands, but if any symptoms seem to persist beyond your six-week checkup, there is no harm in going back to the doctor to see if there is anything that can help.