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The after birth experience

(21 Posts)
Junosmum Mon 10-Aug-15 12:55:01

Ok, so now I'm upduffed it's time to enlighten myself as to my worst pregnancy/parenthood fear. The first week after birth. I'm not in the least bit bothered about Labour, it is what it is, I'm also fairly confident on the new born baby and lack of sleep. It's the blood and pain I'm worried about. In the last 10 years I've had maybe 5 periods due to my pill and got pregnant between period one and 2 from coming off the pill. I hate periods and I'm lead to believe that the after birth bleeding is like all your periods at once and then some. Combined with the bruised, swollen and stitched fanny area I'm expecting it to be a party in my pants. And pads. I hate pads, so much so that after my first period I switched to tampons and then a moon cup when I came off the pill this time.

Please someone tell me how bad it really is, so I can start to mentally prepare myself. Is it weeks and weeks of heavy bleeding, pain and discomfort?

twinsandapenguin Mon 10-Aug-15 12:59:58

It's not that bad. Bleeding yes, like a heavy period for about 10 days. Get more maternity pads than you think you will ever need. Stitches were painful but after about day 3 much much better. Just a general exhausted feeling, walking very slowly. Really not that bad overall, don't worry.
I was back running by 6 weeks, albeit slowly.

LumpyCustard69 Mon 10-Aug-15 13:02:36

I had weeks (maybe 4 at most) of bleeding after dd, but no period pains, just twinges.
I did have 3 stitches, so peeing stung a bit for a while, and I had to pat rather than wipe. Nurses told me to take every opportunity to pee whilst showering, which I have to say, did help!!
After the first week, I had very little pain of any kind tbh.
I HATE pads of any kind too, and I have to say, finding ones that were suitable was a nightmare, possibly because I always avoided them before!!!!
I'm being induced Friday, and am dreading having to use pads again. I've no idea how women put up with them every month confused

FernGullysWoollyPully Mon 10-Aug-15 13:02:37

Firstly, I just want to point out that everyone is different. Some bleed lightly for a very short time, others weeks.

I was weeks. Have been with all my babies. The first was the worst, I was still bleeding after 6 weeks, which is about the average so they say. Everytime I did any exercise or walked anywhere my bleeding worsened. I also had an episiotomy and bruising, the stitches were sore at first but on the way to healing within about a week. The first couple of days, yes quite sore and painful. You may experience after pains in your tum which feel a bit like contractions, I felt them more with subsequent babies than with my first. Undercarriage will be sore and yes it might feel like the world is falling out of there but it won't! Pads are nasty. I always hated them too. But necessary. Maternity pads are soft and a relief if you store them in the fridge. You can switch to thinner ones when the bleeding slows.

Hemlock2013 Mon 10-Aug-15 13:03:19

No... I'm week two post baby now and it's already a light flow but it's heavy to start with sure. It's such a small part of the post birth experience though I'm sure you won't even care when you get to it. Try not to give it too much head space...

Queazy Mon 10-Aug-15 13:13:24

Yes just like a heavy period and depending on stitches can be uncomfortable for a few days/weeks. Honestly, until I read the thread I hadn't remembered any of it, so obviously wasn't much to worry about. Labour and then first night with a newborn were my worries. Doing it again in Dec so again can't be that bad smile

Lunastarfish Mon 10-Aug-15 13:26:41

I had a rather difficult labour. My DD was back to back and I ended tearing front and back and needed stitches in both directions. Also ended up with piles and was anaemic for a week so kept feeling faint.

First week was difficult, my bum was incredibly bruised (I was pushing on a birthing stool which apparently makes bum bruising worst) and I was in agony with my back (historic back problems plus back to back labour).

That said, I didn't have any issues with wee stinging. I drank so much water that it was too diluted to sting. Pooing was OK too, just take your time and don't rush it.

I bled heavily for the first two weeks. I would gush blood whilst breastfeeding which wasn't pleasant so I was getting through pads quickly (4 packs over 10 days). 4 weeks in I'm now using panty liners as there is still some light bleeding. My SIL however only bled heavily for 4 days! As a io, buy some most toilet paper. It's much more soothing on your bits, easier to clean if you have piles plus you can have a quick clean down below with them which makes me feel a bit more human.

I could feel my uterus contracting when feeding but I didn't suffer at all with after pains.

For the first week I was hobbling around, walking like John Wayne and walking really really slowly. I found pushing the pushchair during that time difficult as I had no core strength.

I would say though that other than my stitches (which I've only had the odd day where they have felt tight) I was fully recovered by day 10. My DD is now 4 weeks and I've just got home from a 2 hour walk.

notascooby007 Mon 10-Aug-15 13:28:27

At 1st yes it is a really heavy period but no period type pain although you might want to take some pain killers in the few days after birth as your whole body aches. After few days your milk will come if your not planning to bf this can be painful waiting for the milk to either leak out or re absorb into your body. The bleeding will ease off but it can take a good few weeks for it to stop completely I would not recommend using tampons at all at this stage.

IdaClair Mon 10-Aug-15 13:29:31

Problem is no one can tell you how it is going to be for you! Everyone is different, but equally I suspect it will be better than your scary fears. If only because of having switched your focus to your nipples.....

I can share that I have never needed stitches, and that post birth bleeding was pretty unremarkable. I went the disposable/maternity pad route with my eldest child, went through a box of ten, went back to normal pads, didn't like the experience. Chose cloth pads, a mixture of purpose made ones and cut up flannel, for my next birth experiences and was personally a lot more comparable, and felt much cleaner. But that might be your worst nightmare - it is horses for courses.

I had period like after pains for four or five days with my first baby, none at all with the rest. Every time I feel active and energised after birth and get straight back into my normal clothes as my belly goes down like a deflated balloon....so I get saggy bits instead of residual bump....but if I had followed the 'you'll still look pregnant after so take big pants' mantra I would have needed a belt....

Most of the time you are distinctly distracted form all this by the tiny person you have to stare at, and you get so much less time in the bathroom to worry about it!!

Nannynome Mon 10-Aug-15 13:35:02

I hate using pads, try the purple packaged women's tena pants smile no pads required, far simpler solution! I am 3 weeks post labour, had 2 weeks of bleeding which has almost gone now. Had no pain really with it and no stitches or wounds. I was tired and achy but nothing else. You will be ok, remember when you are doing research on the internet most of what you will hear will be the negative stories, the positives don't get discussed nearly as much.

TheOriginalWinkly Mon 10-Aug-15 13:39:47

Soak pads in witch hazel and keep in the fridge. It's lovely and cooling, promotes healing, and makes the pads a bit less crinkly and uncomfortable. I had many many stitches but guzzled gallons of water so my pee didn't stung at all. Instead of wiping I patted with tissue paper dipped in cool clean water, all good.

BumpAndGrind Mon 10-Aug-15 13:45:51

The first poo was my hardest thing to mentally overcome. I hate pads but I was bleeding so much they became a comfort

Saltedcaramel2014 Mon 10-Aug-15 13:49:24

Whatever you try to prepare yourself for, and think will be the hardest/grossest - it will probably be something completely different.

The bleeding was not a joy. But it's over before long and you will be massively distracted.

Needmorechocolate Mon 10-Aug-15 13:56:56

Everyone is different. I usually bleed for 4-6 weeks, first week is the worst then it calms down a bit but tends to increase with activity or when breastfeeding. Stock up on more pads than you think you'll need! I've had stitches twice, I definitely recommend drinking lots of water to dilute your urine so it stings less. Also drink lots of water to help with constipation- the first poo can be a bit difficult.

Also you might want to factor in that things are slightly different with a c-section in case that's the way things go. I found I bled less but obviously you have to deal with the restrictions of lifting, driving etc.

I never found the pain too bad afterwards with either type of delivery. Make sure you have paracetamol and ibuprofen, maybe some cooling pads to go in your underwear and i would recommend arnica tablets for the bruising and tea tree oil to put in the bath and help with healing if needed.

Good luck

Newtobecomingamum Mon 10-Aug-15 14:18:15

I had an awful vaginal labour and only bled for about 3 days lightly after and that was it x

AbbeyRoadCrossing Mon 10-Aug-15 14:20:08

It really varies a lot depending on how the birth goes and luck really.
I had 8 weeks of bleeding, closely followed by the first period - not much fun but it was OK. I think I perhaps had more than normal because I had placenta problems and an emergency section.
Can't really remember many afterpains, maybe a few days? And obviously I had the unexpected section recovery too.
I don't think you can know in advance how it'll go,but I would take pads. They are softer than normal pads and they don't advise anything internal e.g. tampon because of infection

RolyPolierThanThou Mon 10-Aug-15 14:38:07

I bled very little and not for long. Pads didn't bother me as I had a wors issue if incontinence to deal with (long pre labour, long active labor, long 2nd stage, three days all in all, oversized baby, induction, episiotomy, forceps, lots of stitches) so bleeding kinda got lost.

I don't remember any after pains with either pregnancy.

I do remember feeling like my insides were falling out for many sweetness post partum after my first (the horrendous birth listed above) but not so much with my second (not such a damaged/broken pelvic floor).

I felt fit as a fiddle after a week or so with my second (7hr labour, 8lb baby) , but it took me at least 3 months to feel fine after my first (71 hr labour, 10+ lb baby).

It can vary enormously is my point. Expect the worst. And tbh it's such an intense time all the physical discomforts become background noise. (Unless it gets really really bad).

RolyPolierThanThou Mon 10-Aug-15 14:41:38

Sweetness? I meant months.

Sweet is was not!

cheezypeas Mon 10-Aug-15 14:45:52

I had a very quick and straightforward birth with DD but the discomfort and bleeding after was very manageable and not problematic at all. My biggest issue was the first, post birth poo! shock

applecore0317 Mon 10-Aug-15 22:18:01

I had a fairly straightforward birth, I bled for three weeks after, although the third week was fairly light, no period pains, a bit sore and bruised for the first week but not as bad as I thought, was more than bearable. Stitches were ok too, I just made sure I leant right forward when going for a wee and wore lose clothing.

To be honest, I was focussing so much on my baby and establishing breastfeeding that I didn't pay attention to much else smile

Ficidy Mon 10-Aug-15 22:40:26

I bled, but couldn't tell you how long for. It didn't bother me too much. Be prepared for the constipation though - that's a killer! I'm usually very regular, but it took me over a week. Wasn't nice.

To be honest, the breastfeeding and sleepless nights were the worst bits for me. No matter how much experience you have with other people's newborns, nothing can prepare you for your own - both positive and negative!

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