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recovering from childbirth

(22 Posts)
Focusfocus Mon 16-Nov-15 13:50:10

I am four weeks post partum and am just wondering when it is I might begin to feel energetic and fine again?

To clarify - I've had a pretty standard textbook birth. My first birth. Had a small episiotomy which healed absolutely unnoticeably and have had no incontinence or other issues. Mood has been just fine. Milk came in very quickly, baby boy came out looking like he'd taken a class in breastfeeding and EBF going just fine.

However -

1. I lost birth weight plus 4 kgs so 10 kgs very quickly and now stuck with an unmovable 20 kegs that's making me lethargic and nothing like my former energetic self

2. My thighs, pelvis and knees still feel achey and shaky from the 3 relentless hours of kneeling in the last stages of giving birth. Getting up and down makes me feel wobbly.

3. My general control on stuff - sense of orientation in markets, etc all feel wobbly

4. Driving has almost had to be relearned. Not exactly of course but still, I drive uber cautiously suddenly as I just feel tired

5. I feel tired.

I am eating alright I guess. As an example yesterday was porridge, grilled chicken, rice and veg, spag Bol and a bar of choc.

I drink pints of water all day. Take my pregnacare multivitamins. DH is on shared parental leave with me for first three months so he does everything at home from shopping, laundry, dog walking, cooking, cleaning, just everything literally Except breastfeeding - even that he facilitates by brining me drinks and snacks and ensuring I am comfy with cushions etc. nothing else I could ask from him.

But I feel so tired, wobbly and achey. When and how will I stop feeling like this shadow? I'm in great mood btw so not depressed etc.

birdladyfromhomealone Mon 16-Nov-15 14:34:25

Your body has gone through major changes in the last 10 months! They call it labour for good reason- its bloody hard work. Think what you pushed out, you stomach muscles did that. All your ligaments in your pelvis and hips were stretched to capacity which is why you now feel so wobbly. Also there is such a thing as baby brain, where you cant think straight and forget things. This is why we don't expect women to go back to work until 6 weeks. I am sure it wont be long before you feel you again so don't worry. You are doing an amazing job making your little boy grow all by yourself- that also takes a great deal of effort from your body. You should be so proud of yourself and your husband sounds like he is also doing a wonderful job!

youlemming Mon 16-Nov-15 20:50:18

I echo the above, even though the hormones released during pregnancy lessen after birth they are still present for around 6 months especially when bfing and things will take time to settle back down.
Make sure you are getting plently of protien and don't worry about the carbs for once you need the additional energy and will burn it off feeding.

Each week you will feel that little bit more normal, but might be an idea to get your iron levels checked.

Focusfocus Mon 16-Nov-15 20:57:42

Thank you both for your kind words. I think - because I've always been a very tick it off, what's next kind of person I'm struggling to deal with the gradualness of it all if you see what I mean. And I'm not bothered about the weight for cosmetic reasons, I'm still wearing my old wardrobe. It's more that I'm genuinely weighed down, achey and tired, so tired.

I need to go see a Gp to get iron etc done but the days and the nights are blending into each other. As DH puts it it's like an endless loop of time. A happy loop of time, but nonetheless a loop.

eurochick Mon 16-Nov-15 21:11:54

I thought of checking iron too. In the meantime try some spa tone and see if that makes any difference.

gillyweed Mon 16-Nov-15 21:21:12

I echo the above, with my first it took nearly a year before I felt 'right' again, with my second it was a few months (but I kinda had no choice and just had to get on with it by then!), pregnant with my 3rd and not looking forward to those first few months!

Give yourself a break, labour and pregnancy is hard bloody work! Breastfeeding quite literally sucks the energy right out of me, don't worry about your weight and just eat what your body is telling you for a bit. Sleep, Ahhhhhh sleep, how I miss it, it's amazing what a lack of sleep can do to you mentally and physically, just roll with it and shut down anything unnecessary till you get through it. Iron, big fan of spatone here, worth a try, can't do any harm Nd might just give you a little more energy.

I think this is also what motherhood can be like with such dependent little ones, it's bloody exhausting, can be a bit of a shock!

caker Mon 16-Nov-15 21:23:02

I ate so much in the early months of breastfeeding, couldn't make it through the night without snacks. Loads of flapjacks and that sort of high energy food. The body needs more food when it doesn't get enough sleep as well, so I'd eat by instinct definitely.

bonzo77 Mon 16-Nov-15 21:29:14

See GP regarding anaemia and thyroid problems. Very common causes of feeling rubbish in women, more so post partum.

bumpertobumper Mon 16-Nov-15 21:29:34

Sounds like you aren't eating much - you don't need to eat for two when pregnant but you do when bfing! An extra 500 calories per day. Your baby is growing incredibly quickly and you need to consume that energy so you can provide it.
And yes it is all exhausting and a massive physical upheaval so be patient with your self, you will gradually feel better, and eat more cakecake

DoctoraNova Tue 17-Nov-15 11:49:23

Massive congratulations!

Breast feeding is very exhausting, don't underestimate the effect of that, plus night feeds. You have to drink heaps of water, and make sure you're eating high energy, high protein food to recover. Tiredness will also peak and trough with the baby's growth spurts, which come around 1 month, 6 weeks, 12 weeks...

If you feel unusually lethargic, compared to your peers in a post natal group for example, it's worth checking haemoglobin and iron levels. You could have lost a lot of blood post partum without knowing. What you describe "feeling tired", "cautious about driving", "relearning", "a shadow" sounds like the mental fog of anaemia to me. Don't put off going to go about it, because it could take a week of treatment to start feeling better, and although you say you're in a good mood now, it can effect your mood if untreated. Other things a GP can rule out: infection, retained placenta, thyroid problems.

I wouldn't worry about weight, nor even step on a scales until at least 12 weeks post partum, until then body fluid levels are still in flux, you need to eat right to produce enough milk and to recover from any damage during childbirth (even a normal, physiological birth requires a certain amount of recovery). You really shouldn't even begin to think a bout losing weight while you feel so tired. The weight will come off soon enough - when your bleeding has completely stopped and you feel physically and mentally more normal, then you can look at a weight control plan, if its necessary, it might not be.

By the way, (apologies for derailing your thread) how did the birth go, was baby in the posterior position in the end? I've had two posterior, and pregnant with no3 and pretty much psyching myself up for another posterior, whilst secretly hoping for an anterior birth.

rallytog1 Tue 17-Nov-15 13:40:18

The knee thing is quite common - as the levels of relaxin gradually reduce (after having risen significantly in pregnancy), it can make your joints really uncomfortable. I hobbled around like an old woman first thing in the mornings for a good few weeks. Good news is that they do eventually go back to normal, it just takes a bit of time.

Definitely think you should get checked for anaemia as well.

megletthesecond Tue 17-Nov-15 13:59:29

Don't panic about the knee and leg pain. I was at the gym until 36 weeks and had an EMCS at 37. My feet and legs felt awful for several weeks. Really awful. Was much better by 12 weeks. I think it's hormones.

Focusfocus Tue 17-Nov-15 14:07:51

Loads of food for thought. Yes to getting iron checked. I need to eat more I think. Sigh. Never going to get rid of this weight I'm lugging around.....

mummypig3 Tue 17-Nov-15 14:34:32

Don't worry about the weight. It will come off when your milk supply is established and baby settles into a feeding routine. I didn't lose any til 6 months pp, then it just wouldn't stop dropping. I'm lighter now than I was before pg

SushiAndTheBanshees Tue 17-Nov-15 14:46:55

I agree, doesn't sound like you're eating enough. The adage is 9 months to put it on, 9 months to get it off (although ime it's longer). Lugging around extra weight isn't a healthy way to be thinking about this. Just relax and rest and feed your baby. As long as you eat healthily the extra weight will go over time. Give it a year, you'll be back where you started.

isthatpoisontoo Tue 17-Nov-15 15:13:33

If you're going to ask for iron deficiency tests, it's worth asking for vitamin B12 as well. You use up a lot of your B12 reserves during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and deficiency causes tiredness, lethargy, sore legs, confusion and generally feeling wobbly. I don't know how many times I took those symptoms to the doctor before they thought to check B12.

New babies are just tiring. Good luck!

TeamSteady Tue 17-Nov-15 17:33:45

I'd also ask to check your thyroid levels- my thyroid seemed to pack up after ds1. I was so unbelievably tired. I couldn't function. I have never felt so awful ever. It contributed to pnd too. If it is, tablets get you feeling normal again within a month iirc. Good luck

Artistic Wed 18-Nov-15 08:29:31

Theoretically 6 weeks is the point until you should be doing nothing else but taking care of yourself & baby and treat this as healing time. You will see improvements around this point (42 days approx). Realistically I felt 'better' at 3 months and 100% myself only when I totally stopped bf. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself the time. It is a very slow recovery no matter how many people you see that seem to 'spring back ' in no time! Eat more proteins & iron & slow down on carbs (a bit not much).

ohthegoats Sat 21-Nov-15 19:17:24

You get the first 3 months for 'free' with your first. Take time to do resting.. proper resting. And eating. It took me a long, long time to feel normal again after birth - I went skiing when my baby was 3 months old, and was hugely unfit, but it was good to have aches in my body for the right and expected reasons. My thighs hurt because I was working them hard, not just because I'd got out of bed, or turned around in the kitchen.. or any other non-movement that seemed to be making me ache since I'd given birth.

As someone else above said, I didn't feel 'me' again until I'd stopped breastfeeding and dealt with the weird wobbly weight that was hanging around. It was impossible to lose weight or control my diet and exercise until I didn't have the breastfeeding hormone stuff flying around. That means I didn't feel physically 'me' again until about 6 weeks ago - my baby is 13 months old.

CityDweller Sat 21-Nov-15 19:34:39

Vit D? It gets wiped out by preg. Ask doc to check your levels (or just start taking additional Vit d - I take it in liquid form)

Believeitornot Sat 21-Nov-15 19:52:25

You need to eat and eat a lot. Who cares about your weight - 4 weeks post partum is not the time to care about such things.

I got my weight back by walking a lot - had the DCs in a sling and it was the way to lose weight, get out and lift my mood. I was out twice a day walking a few miles a day.

Focusfocus Sun 22-Nov-15 19:56:44

Thanks All! Vitamin d I'm on 1000 IU fir life, I'm dark skinned and have diagnosed D deficiencies. Feeling a bit better now actually at five weeks. Nowhere near normal but even though. I'm just surprised that even with a completely standard textbook birth with no complexities, and with both DH and myself on shared parental leave I.e, DH doing everything and me nothing except BFing, I'm still wiped out. It's just taken me aback!

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