Here’s what might be going on with your body, mental health, self-care needs, and work-life balance at 15 weeks postpartum.
While you’re probably fully healed from childbirth at this point, you might not be out of the woods with postpartum symptoms just yet. From your period to your eyesight to your complexion, you can expect things to be a little different than they were before pregnancy.
It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year after childbirth to get your period — typically longer if you’re breastfeeding. When it does restart, your cycle might be irregular for a few months, longer or shorter than before, or involve different symptoms, such as breast tenderness, cramps, or bloating.
As many as six out of ten women develop diastasis recti while pregnant. This widening between the left and right ab muscles can make your stomach stick out slightly. While it’s not typically permanent, around 40% still have it at the six-month mark.
Postpartum vision changes are also relatively common, thanks to ongoing hormonal changes. You might experience blurriness, eye strain, or light sensitivity. Getting a prescription for contacts or glasses during pregnancy usually isn’t recommended, as vision changes are often temporary. But if you’re still having eyesight issues this week, you might want to make an appointment with your optometrist.
It’s not uncommon for skin changes to pop up in the first several months after pregnancy. You might get more pimples than usual, uneven texture, rosacea, eczema, or dark patches (hyperpigmentation). If any of these issues last longer than a few weeks, check in with a dermatologist about potential treatments.
You may also start shedding around this time. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about postpartum hair loss, but remember it’s completely normal and should subside in a few months.
If you’re breastfeeding, congratulations on making it 15 weeks! How’re you feeling? Even if you’re in a groove in terms of pumping and feeding positions at this stage, your baby’s nutritional needs can become overwhelming over time. If you need a little support, look for a breastfeeding support group or even just some friends and family who’ve been through it before.
Having said that, going longer between sessions could result in clogged milk ducts. You might be able to remedy the issue on your own by gently massaging or pumping. However, it could lead to mastitis (a breast tissue infection), so contact your provider ASAP if it doesn’t go away in a day or so.
Your mental health
Though you might be filled with joy and pride at this stage, body image issues, depression, and anxiety are also somewhat common.
Apart from weight gain, pregnancy affects everything from your skin to your hair to your hormones — and it can take time to look and feel like your old self. We realize it’s easier said than done, but try to avoid negative self-talk and comparing yourself to others.
Your body did an amazing thing growing and birthing a human, and it’s OK if you don’t return to your pre-baby size. Instead of focusing on your appearance, make physical and mental health the goal. This mindset shift is not only good for you but also your child.
Postpartum depression and anxiety
About 11% of new mothers have postpartum depression (PPD), and as many as 20% struggle with anxiety. Though they’re not exactly the same, the symptoms of these conditions often overlap. Some of the most common include intense feelings of sadness, constant worry, mood swings, appetite changes, and sleep issues. If these effects last longer than a couple of weeks, let your healthcare provider know or call the Postpartum Support International hotline.
Tending to your own needs is just as important as caring for your child. Try to prioritize self-care this week, whether it’s streaming a short yoga session, going on a brisk walk, painting your nails, or meeting up with a friend for coffee.
Going back to work can throw a wrench in things just as you’re getting into the groove of new parenthood. Balancing family with your career is no easy feat, and it can be particularly stressful with a 15-week-old.
Still, switching gears from baby duty might be a welcome change, and it can make you cherish your time together even more. Try to embrace this stage, even if it feels a bit chaotic, and go easy on yourself if you don’t tackle every last item on your to-do list.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
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