Here’s what you might be going through in terms of body changes, mental health, energy levels, and more at nine weeks postpartum.
If you had a traumatic birth experience or suffered an injury during delivery, you may still be healing emotionally and/or physically. And even if your body has fully healed from childbirth, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods with postpartum symptoms. From your skin to your hair to your period, things might be a bit different than they were before pregnancy.
Plus, sleep may be hard to come by these days, so if you’re not quite feeling like yourself, that’s totally normal. It takes time.
If you’re breastfeeding, you’re likely in the swing of things – congratulations on making it this far! While latching and other challenges may be behind you, new hiccups like clogged ducts can often make an appearance. Early management is key because clogged ducts can lead to an infection in your breast tissue (aka mastitis).
You could have your first postpartum period this week — some people menstruate as early as five weeks after childbirth. But for others (especially those who are exclusively breastfeeding), it can take as long as a year and a half before their cycle is regular again.
Skin changes and hair loss
About nine out of ten women get stretch marks during pregnancy, and while the slightly indented streaks can fade over time, they might never disappear entirely. Stretch marks are not only super common but also a sign of your body’s amazing accomplishment of growing a human from a single cell.
Other potential skin changes include breakouts, dryness, hyperpigmentation (dark patches), and eczema. Postpartum hair loss usually starts anywhere from one to three months after giving birth, so you could start noticing some fallout too. The excessive shedding can be alarming, but remember it’s normal and typically stops about 6 months after it begins.
Your mental health
Nine weeks after childbirth, you might be more confident about caring for an infant and feeling happy, connected, and content. However, postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, and body image issues are also somewhat common at this stage.
PPD affects around 11% of new mothers. Some of the most common symptoms include lingering sadness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, appetite changes, and trouble sleeping. If they last longer than two weeks, call the Postpartum Support International hotline or check in with your healthcare provider.
Anxiousness can be a symptom of PPD or occur on its own. Signs of postpartum anxiety include constant worry, restlessness, racing thoughts, appetite loss, trouble sleeping, and even some physical effects like dizziness and nausea. Therapy and at-home treatments can help, so talk to your provider if your symptoms don’t get better in a few weeks.
As a new parent, you might feel pressure to “bounce back” to your pre-pregnancy size or have negative thoughts about your appearance. Some people never return to their pre-baby weight, and that’s completely OK. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with striving to be fit as long as you set realistic goals. The most important thing is to make sure you’re caring for your mental health in addition to your physical health.
Your energy levels
To say new parenthood is exhausting would be a major understatement. While your baby might be sleeping for longer stretches this week, balancing their needs with your household to-do list and potentially your job can be draining.
To keep your energy levels up, try to prioritize rest and accept help from friends and family if you need a break. Of course, coffee and tea can help get you through the day, but too much caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep when you have the chance, so try not to go overboard later in the day.
Returning to work
If you’re working, a return to work could be right around the corner (if you haven’t gone back already). From finding the right childcare solution to getting enough sleep to perform on the job to pumping throughout the workday, balancing your career and family life can be overwhelming. Though there’s undoubtedly still a lot on your plate, you might also find the change freeing.
Give yourself some grace during this hectic stage, try to find time for a little self-care, and be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any severe or lingering physical or mental symptoms.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
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- Office on Women’s Health (OASH). Postpartum depression. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHS). 2019. Web.