Here’s what might be happening with your body, mental health, energy levels, self-care needs, and social connections at 24 weeks postpartum.
While you may be healed from childbirth by now, that doesn’t mean you’re entirely out of the woods with post-pregnancy symptoms. From your hormones to your hair to your muscles, there are a handful of physical changes you could experience this week.
Postpartum shedding is basically inevitable. Though there’s not anything you can do to prevent it, a shorter cut might make your hair look and feel fuller. Plus, your little one won’t be able to tug on it as easily.
Breastfeeding and weaning
Time commitment aside, breastfeeding takes major energy! If you’re struggling with milk production, coping with demands of pumping at work or are experiencing frequent clogged ducts, know that you are not alone. Finding community support, or professional support for breastfeeding, is just as important now as it was week one. It’s also okay to re-think your feeding goals, and get support for combo feeding and formula. No two families are the same, and your enjoying this journey takes many forms.Nearly six months of nursing is an impressive feat, so give yourself credit for making it this far!
If your period isn’t back yet, it’ll likely show up soon — unless you are exclusively breastfeeding. Your menstrual cycle might involve different symptoms than before or may be irregular for a few months, but it’s still important to have a plan for birth control.
If you’re one of the 60% of women who get diastasis recti (widening ab muscles) during pregnancy, the good news is it’s not typically permanent. However, about 40% will still have a slight protrusion at six months postpartum, and roughly 30% will have it at the one-year mark.
You’re probably building muscle in your arms and legs from lifting, holding, and rocking your baby. Still, since pregnancy causes your ligaments to loosen and relax and loosen, it can take a while to get your full physical strength back.
Your mental health
The most common mental health conditions at 24 weeks postpartum include anxiety, postpartum depression (PPD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It’s normal to feel temporarily stressed, sad, or uneasy, especially during such a pivotal life stage.
That said, if depression, anxiousness, irritability, insomnia, concentration issues, or obsessive, repetitive behaviors last longer than two weeks, get in touch with your healthcare provider or call the Postpartum Support International hotline.
Sleep and energy
You can occasionally power through a day on little sleep and lots of caffeine, and eating a healthy diet is certainly part of the equation. But getting enough shut-eye is really the only way to keep up your energy levels.
Unfortunately — but perhaps not surprisingly — new parents only get about five and a half hours of nightly sleep during the first year. This is two and a half hours short of the recommended eight.
We know it’s easier said than done, but prioritizing rest is crucial for your mental and physical well-being. If your baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet, you might try aiming for two shorter stretches. You and your partner could also switch off on nighttime baby duty. That way, you’ll each get a full night’s rest at least every other day.
Self-care doesn’t have to be anything fancy or time-consuming. This week, it could be as simple as getting a haircut, painting your toenails, meditating for a few minutes each day, or streaming a workout class in your living room. Incorporating self-care into time with your baby is okay too! Maybe it’s a catch-up on the phone with a best friend while you stroll around the block, or watching a favorite show while baby naps on your chest.
Sex, intimacy, and social connection
About nine out of ten women are sexually active within six months of giving birth. However, many experience issues like low libido, pain during intercourse, or difficulty reaching orgasm. Intimacy is important, but it doesn’t necessarily have to involve sex. When you’re up for it, though, don’t overlook birth control because it’s possible to ovulate before your period restarts.
Whether you’re partnered up or single, human interaction is vital. The first year of parenthood can be isolating, and connecting with family, friends, and other parents can provide a comforting sense of community.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
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