If you are currently pregnant with your first child, you will no doubt have read a whole host of articles, books, websites, and forum threads to try and get up to speed on what to expect. Equally, you’ll have probably sought advice from every mother you come across and had professionals thrust half a rainforest of information at you throughout various appointments.
It can be somewhat overwhelming, but by and large you’re probably as prepared for impending parenthood as you’ll ever be. Of course, the reality is that parenthood is a lot like swimming – you can’t learn it all from a book. You kind of have to get thrown in.
That said, there are some things every woman should know before she gives birth.
You will bleed – and your daughter might, too
Most women focus solely on the giving birth part, and are well versed in the stages of labour, or how a c-section is performed. However, there’s a lot that happens once you have that bundle in your arms, and one of them is bleeding.
No matter how you give birth, your body will shed the lining of your uterus, and everything else that’s been needed to keep your baby safe for the last 9 months. This bleeding, known as lochia, cam be heavy like a period, or may even come in gushes, which can be quite surprising if you’re not expecting it.
At first there may even be some clots as you bleed, and this is perfectly normal. If you have any concerns at all, always speak to your Midwife, consultant or other medical professional for advice and support.
As with a period the bright red bleeding will taper off, changing to pink and then brown. Every woman is different, as is every post pregnancy body, and bleeding can last anywhere between 2 to 6 weeks.
Make sure you stock up on maternity pads (you may even find thick pads such as Tena lady are ideal), especially during the first few weeks. Do not use tampons, as you might during your period, as you want to avoid the risk of infection whilst your uterus is still healing.
Whilst you’re dealing with your own post-partum period, if you have given birth to a baby girl, there is a chance she may experience a small period-like bleed too. Baby girls have been exposed to precisely the same hormones you have throughout your pregnancy. This means that she is likely to experience a slight pinkish discharge during the first few days of life.
Do not worry or be alarmed, and again, speak to your Midwife if you do have any concerns.
You’re not the only one who might be swollen
Newborns can often have swollen genitals, and may even appear to have small breasts. This is for precisely the same reason as little girls experience a small period – those pesky hormones.
It can be quite disconcerting, especially if no one has warned you, when you first catch sight of your little boy’s scrotum if it looks particularly swollen. However, it is perfectly normal, nothing to worry about and isn’t painful for him. The swelling will go down over the first few weeks as his hormone levels begin to settle.
It goes too fast
One minute someone’s handing you this brand new human being, and by the time you next look up, they’re six weeks old and smiling.
People will tell you, time and time again, that it goes too quickly. And it really does. Soak up as much of that newborness as you can – because it is over in an instant.
Join our Derbyshire mums & mums to be facebook group and you can chat to other mums.