Life changes completely after the birth of your baby. Your hormones and emotions change rapidly after birth and can affect how you feel. It’s a good idea to have more of an understanding of how your body is likely to react after the birth of your baby and how you may feel emotionally and physically after your hospital stay.
- As soon as the baby is born your uterus starts to get smaller. By the time of your postpartum check, it should be almost back to the size it was when you became pregnant.
- You should gradually return to your pre-delivery weight. Combining a healthy diet with exercise will help you lose weight and get safely back in shape after delivery.
- It is difficult to predict when you will ovulate after delivery. (This is why, it is very important that you always use birth control whenever you have sex, if you do not plan to become pregnant.)
Your family’s changes
- Your baby is here! What an exciting and challenging time for everyone as you each adjust to the changes of a growing family.
- You and the baby’s father may both have moments when you feel anxious or sad. You may both worry about money, your relationship or the future – not to mention being good parents. Make time to talk with one another about your concerns. Let your partner know he is still very important to you. Involve him in your activities. And set aside time for the two of you to be alone together.
- Your baby’s father may feel “left out” because of all the attention you are giving to the baby. Involve him in activities to care for the baby. Make time for the two of you to be alone together.
Your thoughts and feelings
- You may find you have less interest than you expected in having sexual intercourse with your partner. There are several reasons for this. One is that the demands of a baby leave you exhausted. Additionally, your body is still adjusting to changing hormonal levels and the birthing process.
- Discuss your feelings with someone you trust and your healthcare provider, especially if you have been very sad or depressed.
- Remember to make time for yourself. If you are feeling especially tired or stressed, leave your baby with someone you trust and take time to do something relaxing such as going for a walk, going for a pedicure or just taking a long bath.
Breastfeeding - a great start
- WHO & HAAD strongly recommend breastfeeding for at least your baby’s first 12 months of life.
- Consider exploring community breastfeeding groups. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know other breastfeeding mothers.
- Discuss any breastfeeding concerns with your provider at this visit.
The postnatal visit
- A complete physical exam with a pelvic and breast examination will be done to see if your body has returned to normal.
- Pre-existing medical conditions will be reviewed to help you determine a follow-up plan.
- If you had gestational diabetes in your pregnancy, additional lab work will be ordered.
- Your birth control method will be reviewed and revised as needed.
- A post-delivery depression screening and a domestic violence screening will be completed.
- If you have not already completed the HPV vaccination series, and you want to be vaccinated, your next immunisation will be given.
- If you are going back to work or need a release from your healthcare provider to return to duty, be sure to let them know during this visit.
- This is likely the last time you will see your healthcare provider for a year or so. Do not hesitate to ask any questions you have about your recovery or concerns you have.
- Your new-born is usually welcomed to accompany you to this visit. If you are bringing your new-born, bring a carriage or car seat for him/her to use during the exam.