Why Series #1: Post baby body changes no one tells you about
I would like to start out by saying that I am completely in love with my son Kayden and truly feel like being a mother was the best decision I have ever made. I would also like to give tons of credit to my HMO network for providing me with a host of nurses, lactation consultants and doctors who made my 4 day stay at the hospital a really positive experience and armed me with a lot of good information on how to take care of my newborn baby.
With that being said I have felt quite compelled over the last 12 weeks to write a series of articles entitled “Why don’t they tell you that?” which I will now shorten to the “Why series.” This series will list out the funky physical ailments or strange occurrences that happen to millions of new moms after childbirth that no one bothers to tell you about but would be extremely helpful to know. I have been in weekly breast-feeding support groups, new mom meetings, tummy time classes, and lunches with new mom friends and we all share the same exasperation regarding this enigma.
So anyhow, here it goes. Please comment with your own personal experience and remember this is not just so that you or I can get a little angst off our chest (wink) but also so we can help other new moms learn from our experience.
Disclaimer : If you are a husband reading this I apologize in advance for the TMI.
Body Shock #1: Incontinence, Urinary Retention
Many women become temporarily numb on the side wall of the vagina from delivery which commonly leads to the misfiring of nerves and the inabilty to know if you need to go or how to hold it in. For me the opposite happened and after 3 days of aid from a catheter I was still unable to empty my bladder by myself. Urinary retention (a side effect of spinal anesthesia) was one of the most helpless and frustrating feelings. My inability to empty my bladder caused my lower stomach to expand and put pressure on my new stitches which caused tremendous pain.
Body Shock #2: Fiery Swollen Feet
One of the strangest sensations I experienced during my recovery at Mary Birch was a sensation that felt like someone had started a fire under my feet! Apparently after you give birth your uterus squeezes blood into your body. Since this fluid has nowhere to go it gets dumped into your feet causing a burning sensation/swelling.
Body Shock #3: Carpal Tunnel and Back Spasms
Both of these were caused by the start of breast-feeding. The awkwardness of positioning your hands and body to feed your new baby every 3 hours caused inflammation in the median nerves in both my wrists and also caused reoccurring back spasms for the first 8 weeks after I gave birth. Both ailments have now gone away since I have gotten used to the breast-feeding positioning and since my body has now recovered from surgery.
Topics covered on the next Why article: When breasts go from fun to function, childbirth and hair loss, breastfeeding diet restrictions, why the baby is not most of the pregnancy weight.