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Your guide to postpartum healing

According to Ovia Health Coach, Lilly Schott, postpartum healing isn’t always linear. “You may go back and forth for a little bit in your healing process,” she explains. Still, she emphasizes that your postpartum symptoms should generally improve in the weeks and months following birth. 

Healing looks different for everyone. Those who give birth via C-section tend to have a longer recovery timeline than those who give birth vaginally. Recovery can also be a bit slower if you had a more difficult birth due to your baby’s position or size (bigger babies can be more likely to cause tearing and pelvic floor issues).

Physical healing, though, is only one part of the postpartum healing process. It’s essential to think about how you’re feeling too, and to note any changes you notice in your mood and general mental health. 

Let’s review some of our most-asked postpartum healing questions. 

What should I do if something is still bothering me postpartum?

During the postpartum period, time should heal all physical wounds. But there are some physical warning signs, including bleeding, fever, and pain that isn’t improving with your prescribed medication. “These are always good reasons to reach out to your healthcare provider,” says Schott. 

Additionally, if you’re experiencing pain while breastfeeding, hard red breasts, or fever, then you should reach out to a provider for help. 

What happens to my pelvic floor after childbirth?

The pelvic floor is a group of 26 muscles that support the uterus, bladder, and rectum. Childbirth can strain or injure the pelvic floor. After birth, when you’re cleared to, there are a range of ways to strengthen your pelvic floor. If you’re experiencing pain or urinary incontinence, physical therapy can help tremendously to restore your pelvic floor functions. 

What should I expect from my postpartum mood?

Your provider or health coach will probably warn you that you may experience mood changes after giving birth. “We tell people to expect some up and down moods for the first two to three weeks postpartum,” Schott says. Any scary, harmful thoughts that are preventing you from sleeping and going about your daily activities should be addressed right away.  

What are some postpartum depression symptoms?

Those who suffer from postpartum depression may experience the following symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty bonding with baby
  • Deep feeling of sadness or despair
  • Scary and harmful thoughts about hurting your baby or yourself
  • Feelings of intense guilt or hopelessness

What’s the difference between baby blues and postpartum depression?

As we mentioned earlier, mood swings in the early weeks post-birth are normal. But when do mood swings shift from the baby blues to postpartum depression?

Baby blues

These are mood swings that usually occur during the first two weeks after childbirth. Hormonal changes have a lot to do with these feelings of sadness. You might feel sensitive, extra sentimental and easily tearful during this time. The symptoms do not interfere with the way new parents live their lives and resolve on their own. 

Postpartum depression

PPD is more severe and does interrupt your day to day life. These thoughts and feelings of sadness can last until a year or longer. Like the baby blues, hormonal changes have a lot to do with these feelings. But these typically don’t go away on their own. If you think you might have postpartum depression, contact your provider right away. There is help available and you can feel better.

Whether you’re managing postpartum mood swings, pelvic floor issues, or enduring any type of healing process, remember that your healing process is normal unless your symptoms are severe and last an extended period of time. Most people are given the green light to exercise, have sex, and do other activities at six weeks postpartum. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be feeling up to it! And that’s OK. Everyone’s postpartum healing timeline looks different. So listen to your body and honor its signals. 

Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team

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