Unexpected Postpartum Symptoms

Mother and newborn baby on blanket
Yuko Hirao/Stocksy United

Having a baby is hard work. You have to go through something called labor to get the baby out. And then, the postpartum recovery period comes with a list of really interesting symptoms. Everything after birth seems a bit different, but here are the postpartum symptoms that women constantly say surprised them after birth. Is your symptom on the list?

1. Sweating

A couple of days after you give birth you may find that you're sweating a lot. Sometimes women experience this odd post-labor and birth symptom only at night, while others find it happens all day. You may wake up in the middle of the night soaked in sweat. This is normal and should only last a few weeks. Try to shower when you can and wear absorbent fabrics like cotton when you sleep to help make you more comfortable. Some women also find cotton sheets are cooler than other fabrics and light nightclothes that can be taken off in layers, should you get warm.

2. Bleeding

You expect the postpartum bleeding, but it's the blood clots you might not think about. These clots of blood can come out most frequently in the first few days. This usually happens after you've been resting a while and stand up. Call your doctor or midwife if you have bleeding that soaks a pad an hour for two hours. It's also interesting to note that women will experience this bleeding even if they have had a C-section—this surprises many moms.

3. Swelling

Just when you thought that swelling was a thing of the past, it's back! Many women receive IV fluids in labor, and this can contribute to postpartum swelling in the first few days post-birth. The good news is that it's often very short-lived.

4. Hunger

In all the births I've attended, the first thing that a large percentage of moms say after the immediate glow of the new baby is: "I'm hungry!" They want real food. This feeling of hunger can last a few days or a few months. Don't stress too much about the need to eat. Be sure that you are choosing snacks that are wise for your nutritional needs. In the first weeks, you should not be focused on weight loss. Your body is recovering from a major event, and you have caloric needs to help repair your body.

5. Hair Loss

You're taking a shower, alone even, and all of a sudden you look down and notice that you have a lot of hair in the drain. Don't worry, you are not going bald. The news is that the hair that was slated to go in pregnancy but stayed to give you that beautiful mane has got to go, and now that the baby has been born, the time is now. This usually happens for a few months before leveling off. If it continues much past this, you might ask your doctor or midwife to check your thyroid levels.

Remember that your doctor or midwife is also there to answer your questions about your postpartum symptoms. You do not need to wait until your six-week checkup to ask a question. If you aren't sure what's going on or if what you're experiencing is normal, don't hesitate to call.

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  1. Queensland Health. Parent Information: Bleeding After Birth. Updated 2018.

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