The postpartum period begins after the delivery of your baby and ends when your body has nearly returned to its pre-pregnant state. This period often lasts 6 to 8 weeks.

The postpartum period involves your moving through many changes, both emotionally and physically. You are also learning how to deal with all the changes needed with becoming a new mother. You and your partner are also how to care for your newborn and function as a changed family unit.You need to take good care of yourself to rebuild your strength. You will need plenty of rest, good nutrition, and help during the first few weeks.

1. You are going to bleed

Postpartum vaginal bleeding typically lasts for four to eight weeks total. But it’s not the same continuous flow of blood. For the first few days after birth, you’ll bleed quite a bit, like a heavy period. The blood, combined with tissue from the lining of the uterus and mucus, is called lochia.

The discharge will lighten each day, and around two to four days after delivery it may be watery and pinkish. It’ll continue to taper off, and by 10 days postpartum you might only have a small amount of white or yellowish discharge, though you may still have spurts of bleeding occasionally (a few times a day). The bleeding should be completely finished in another two to four weeks.

Some women bleed more than this, and it’s a medical emergency. If you have any signs of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) (bright red bleeding that lasts more than a few days after delivery, bleeding that soaks more than one sanitary pad in an hour, bigger blood clots, visit your care provider right away. Also call if you develop new, significant bleeding after your initial bleeding slowed down.

2. You will have mood changes

Expect to worry about things that you have never worried about before. Express and accept your negative feelings. The baby blues are very common, affecting up to 80 percent of moms right after birth. These feelings of sadness, exhaustion, and/or overwhelm often subside in a couple of weeks.

If you have intense feelings of sadness or severe mood swings, are crying often, having trouble sleeping, or having overwhelming feelings of worthlessness or guilt, contact your provider. These are some of the signs of postpartum depression, This requires treatment, and the sooner you get help the better.

3. You will be sleep deprived

Expect to wake up frequently during night time (at least 3 to 4 times during the night). learn to sleep when your baby sleeps during the day time.This may be only a few minutes of rest several times a day, but these minutes can add up.

4. Your body will not get back to its pre-pregnacy state immediately

Most mothers want to lose their pregnancy weight, but extreme dieting and rapid weight loss can harm you and your baby if you are breastfeeding. It can take several months for you to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy. You can reach this goal by cutting out high-fat snacks. Focus on a diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, balanced with proteins and carbohydrates. Exercise also helps burn calories and tone muscles and limbs.
Along with balanced meals, you should drink more fluids if you are breastfeeding. You may find that you become very thirsty while the baby is nursing. Water and milk are good choices.

5. You might have pain while passing urine and stool

You will have burning pain while peeing especially if you had a stich or perineal tear. It is also common to have hemorrhoids and constipation after delivery, use sitz bath. Taking a sitz bath in warm or cool water can clean and sooth the perineal, vaginal, and rectal area. There are many things you can do to ease constipation naturally (such as drinking plenty of water and walking). But if nothing else is working, you may want to take an OTC stool softener. Talk with your practitioner before taking it, however.

6. It is common to have a headache.

About 40 percent of women experience headaches in the postpartum period. The Causes include sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, psychological stress, postpartum fatigue, physiological changes and anesthesia related complications. Most causes of postpartum headaches aren’t dangerous, but headaches can be a warning sign of postpartum preeclampsia. Contact your provider if you have a headache that: gets worse over time or won’t go away, is very intense, lasts even after taking medication and fluids, starts suddenly, like a thunderclap, is accompanied by blurred vision or dizziness.

7. Your hair might start to fall

Your hair might get thicker during pregnancy due to the increased hormonal effects, eventually this hair will fall out during the post postpartum period. Don’t worry this is completely normal.

8. You can get pregnant before your first period

The date of your first postpartum period depends on how much you’re breastfeeding. Most moms who don’t breastfeed will get their first postpartum period in 6 to 8 weeks, while breastfeeding moms typically resume their periods between 9 and 18 months after childbirth.

Don’t depend on breastfeeding for birth control. You can get pregnant while breastfeeding. And keep in mind – breastfeeding or not – you can get pregnant before you have your first period (ovulation usually comes first).