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The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy Postpartum

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Pregnancy is an amazing and miraculous time in your life. It can also be one of the most stressful times. And while you and your partner will never forget the joys of becoming parents, you may find yourself yearning for a bit more normalcy once the baby arrives. When the novelty of having a new baby wears off, it can be easy to forget all the little things that used to make you happy. The good news is that you won’t feel like yourself again right away. In fact, you may find yourself feeling pretty different as a parent. The following article covers everything you need to know about pregnancy and postpartum, from how much you’ll gain during your pregnancy to the best way to cope with postpartum depression. Read on for answers to common questions about how pregnancy and childbirth affect you and your body.

What is postpartum and how does it differ from pregnancy?

Postpartum is the period that follows childbirth, and it’s defined as the time from giving birth to the end of the first month of breastfeeding (usually the first week). While you’re pregnant, the growing fetus is attached to your uterus (womb). Once the baby is born, the placenta is separated from your uterine wall and the baby is attached to your breast. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy also cause a lot of your body’s natural resources to shift towards the baby, leaving you with very little fat and muscle mass.

While many new moms feel a sense of loss and sadness after giving birth, postpartum is when the real changes begin. Your body changes in myriad ways after giving birth, and your sex drive, cholesterol levels, and even your sense of smell are all affected by pregnancy and childbirth. The most obvious change is in your figure, as your body returns to its pre-baby weight once the milk comes in. You’ll also experience a wide range of new, uncomfortable feelings once you’re no longer pregnant, including mood swings, moodiness, increased irritability, and restlessness.

Will I feel pregnant or postpartum for the rest of my life?

The short answer is no, you won’t feel pregnant or postpartum for the rest of your life. Although many physical and emotional changes occur during pregnancy and postpartum, you’ll return to normal pretty quickly. Some women report feeling “pregnant” for a few months after childbirth, but this feeling will pass once breastfeeding is complete.

How to Tell if You’re Suffering From Postpartum?

You should start to feel better within a few weeks of giving birth, although it may take a month or two for the symptoms of postpartum to appear. Once you start to notice a change in your mood or physical condition, you can rule out postpartum depression (described below) and start to get your life back on track.

The following are a few common symptoms of postpartum and ways to help yourself feel better if you’re experiencing them:

Increased irritability: You may feel like you can’t get angry enough, or that you’re always snapping at your partner or kids. Try to take a break from the baby whenever you can (even if you have to sit in the car) and relax.

Moodiness: You may find yourself going from happy to sad and back again without any apparent reason. Try to stay as active as possible to help get your mind off your dulled emotions, and try to avoid staying in the same mood for very long.

Sleep disturbances: You may sleep more than usual, or have trouble sleeping. Try to get the most sleep you can during this time (remember, babies are usually colic, so there may be times when you don’t feel like taking a nap, either), and avoid caffeine near bedtime.

Nausea and vomiting: You may feel like you’re always throwing up (even when you’re not), and you may even start to keep a bathroom nearby at all times. Try to eat a small, light snack before you lie down and relax. You may also find that taking a warm shower or bath can help.

Diaper changes: You may find that you change diapers more than usual, or for longer periods of time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with this (after all, you won’t be able to multitask as you used to).

How Much Weight Does a New Mother Gain During Pregnancy?

Most women experience a loss of anywhere from 10 to 30 pounds during pregnancy. The amount you lose depends on your body type— If you’re overweight or have a lot of belly fat, you may lose a lot more than someone with more musculature. If you’re underweight to start with, you may not gain much either way. The good news is that, even if you don’t gain much weight during pregnancy, your body is adapting to provide for the baby, so it will probably gain more fat postpartum (though this will vary from woman to woman).

Should I breastfeed my baby?

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about whether or not you should breastfeed your baby after giving birth. The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that breastfeeding provides both nutrition and health benefits for your baby, but there’s no official statement saying you have to breastfeed for a certain amount of time. The AAP recommends that you breastfeed for at least one year, but you’re free to choose whether or not to continue once your baby is a month old.

When is the best age to have kids?

Having a baby at any time is a risky journey, and pregnancy is no exception. The best time to get pregnant is at the moment that you want to have kids, but it’s also important to be careful. You can’t determine if a pregnancy is safe to carry to term based on when you conceive, so you should carry a pregnancy to term even if you know you can’t take care of a child at that time.

Is postpartum depression real?

Yes, postpartum depression (sometimes called post-partum syndrome or baby blues) is a real condition that affects many new moms. While it’s not clear exactly what causes it, experts believe that it’s linked to hormonal changes that occur during and after pregnancy. Symptoms include crying spells, sadness, feeling teary, losing interest in things you once found fun, feeling guilty or ashamed, and gaining a lot of weight.

If you think you may be suffering from postpartum depression, it’s important to get help as soon as possible.

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How Can I Care for Myself After Giving Birth?

You’ll likely feel like you need a break once you give birth, so take advantage of that time off. Try to take it easy and let your body rest as much as possible. Also, make sure you have plenty of time to nap and spend time with your baby

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