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Let's Talk: Top 5 Things No One Tells You About the Postpartum Phase

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

Common stuff that few people talk about.

When it comes to pregnancy and childbirth, everyone seems to have a story they want to tell! But the things no one tells you about postpartum and newborns may surprise you.

Here are the top 5 things we think new parents might want to know that can be commonly experienced after the birth of a baby:

1. Postpartum bleeding can last a much longer time, be heavier than a normal period and can involve passing clots up to the size of a small egg. Generally, the bleeding lessens over time, and becomes a darker color. If there is a sudden increase in bleeding, the flow becomes bright red, or a clot bigger than an egg is passed, it is time to call your healthcare provider.

2. The birth canal or the incision site is not the only part that can be sore. Especially if there was a long labor or intense pushing, there may be muscle soreness, strains, and pulls in all parts of the body including the back, neck, and legs. Think about the strength it takes to birth, and this isn’t so surprising. Some even experience bloodshot eyes from small capillary ruptures after hard pushing.

3. Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally. The baby and parent are both novices at this skill and are learning how to do it together. There can be a lot of trial and error. Nipple pain is common, but it is not normal. Not even in the beginning. If there is any pain, something is almost always amiss. A certified lactation counselor (CLC) is a good place to start getting help, and if things aren’t getting better with their assistance, an international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) is the next referral you’ll want to seek out.

4. Male and female newborns sometimes lactate a little. It’s true. This is a side-effect of normal hormones coursing through the body in utero and just after birth. You may even see a little blood in female babies’ diapers, also due to the hormones involved in pregnancy. No need for alarm, as these things are normal and will resolve on their own shortly after birth.

5. Most cultures over time and place have embraced some form of postpartum resting and care practices. Consider the Chinese tradition of zuo yuezi, the Latin American forty-day period known as la cuarentena, or Korea’s samchilil. All of these practices acknowledge that birthing requires tremendous energy, and to regain strength and to heal properly, there must be time set aside for being cared for as you and your baby transition into this new life phase. Sure, many people get through this time without support, but we think there’s a better way. Having a plan in place to give you and your newborn the support and care you both need as you adjust is something Sweet Peas can help you with! Contact us here to find out more.

Did any of these things surprise you? What would you like to know more about?

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