The worst part about postpartum was not knowing what was coming in the first days and weeks after giving birth. There are so many things we don't really talk about until we're already in it!
Here are 4 postpartum facts that every expecting parent should know about before they go into the fourth trimester – but that often get overlooked:
The postpartum hormonal dip
One thing many new parents don't know about is the hormonal dip that occurs roughly 3-5 days after giving birth. During this hormonal shift, it's so common to experience dread, fear, anxiety, worry, and to cry often.
In fact, this is what is so often, and so wrongly, called "baby blues". I hate the idea of calling it that because it minimizes an experience that can be really scary or dark.
For me, the first time around, it felt extreme, and that's largely because I didn't know it was coming! With my second child, I was able to kind of breath through it more and manage the emotions because I understood what was happening.
And while this typically subsides quickly – that's actually what separates it from full on postpartum depression – an estimated 1/6 will experience postpartum depression. If you are struggling, please reach out to your health care practitioner.
Postpartum hair loss
Hormones are... Well, they're messed up! It is very common to experience severe hair loss a few months into postpartum.
Honestly, it may appear to be a shocking amount, but don't worry, but often that is completely normal.
Then hair regrowth will become the issue... Oh my god, all the funny little hairs sticking up are the worst!
Continued uterine contractions
Your uterus expands to 500x its size throughout pregnancy – so reversing this is a sizeable task! Most people will experience contractions in the days and weeks that follow birth, and they can sometimes be painful.
About that first poop...
You may be feeling afraid of or self conscious about having a bowel movement during labour. Look, here's the thing: it might happen, you honestly won't notice, and no one attending the birth will cares. Promise.
But many people aren't prepared for that first bowel movement in postpartum. It can be psychologically difficult to push after, well, pushing, so talk to your health care provider about stool softeners.
And for a drug or supplement free tip, grab a clean towel and use this to apply pressure to that general area as you go for the first time. This will help counteract any feelings of discomfort that you have around pushing so soon after giving birth.