There’s denying that pregnancy is a whirlwind—but postpartum recovery can throw you for just as big of a loop. And while there are apps and frequent doctors appointments to help you through all the body changes that happen during pregnancy, transitioning into your post-baby body can be full of surprises—and a few weird symptoms. While you should always, always check in with your doc if you’ve got questions, here’s a peek at what a number of women experience in the first few weeks after heading home from the hospital.
Feeling moody, sad, or crying at the drop of a hat
Lots of women experience what’s called the ‘baby blues’ after birth, thanks to a sudden drop in hormones like estrogen and progesterone (plus the lack of sleep). If your symptoms are intense (you can’t eat, sleep, or take care of baby) or last longer than a few weeks, you may be at risk for postpartum depression—check in with your doc who can help with a diagnosis and treatment to feel better.
Continuing to feel ‘contractions’
As your uterus shrinks back down to its normal size (a pear!) you might feel sharp cramps in your belly the first few days after delivery, especially if you’re nursing. Ibuprofen, which your doc has probably already passed along, can help.
Still looking pregnant
Lots of women find they still look like they’re in their second trimester right after baby comes out. It won’t last! As the uterus contracts and the body expels all that extra fluid, your pants will feel less snug.
Sweating through your sheets at night
You can thank your shifting hormones again here. As the body rids itself of excess fluid, you might spend the next couple of weeks waking up in a puddle. (If you notice a fever, check in with the doc.)
Battling acne, fine lines, and dry patches
A new crop of skin problems might pop up after birth, and it’s not just from the lack of sleep—that dramatic hormone drop can trigger excess oil (causing acne) or a dip in collagen production, which weakens the skin barrier.
Feeling backed up
Constipation is par for the course—dehydration, plus the effects of pain meds if you’ve had an epidural or C-section, can slow down your system. Our best advice: take the stool softener your nurse offers.
What’s also normal: Feeling like your heart might combust, finding your normal voice has transformed into a sing-songy coo, and catching yourself rock in place (without baby).
Source: Payal Adhikari, MD, of Child and Adolescent Health Associates in Chicago.