New mothers will experience several bodily and emotional changes that are a normal part of the childbirth process. These include:
Your breasts will fill with milk within three to four days after delivery. This can be uncomfortable, especially if you do not or are unable to breast-feed. Breast-feeding instruction is available from the Hospital's certified lactation educators, as well as from our nursing staff. In addition, new mothers are welcome to return to the Hospital for meetings of the ongoing Breast-feeding Support Group. White Plains Hospital is seeking designation as a "Baby Friendly" Hospital by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.
The stretching of your vaginal opening during delivery may result in soreness for several days. In addition, you may experience some additional temporary discomfort if you received sutures for an episiotomy.
For three or four weeks, you will experience vaginal bleeding, which is called lochia. This now may be heavier than your period, and will begin as bright red bleeding and end as a yellowish-white discharge.
Bladder and Bowel Function
You may experience some difficulty urinating after delivery. Drink lots of liquids to help your bladder return to normal. This will also help to relieve constipation that may last for a week or more after delivery.
This common condition usually occurs three or four days to two weeks after delivery of your baby. This is a period when you may feel down or depressed due to rapidly changing hormone levels in your body, lack of sleep, and stress. The best way to reduce or alleviate "the blues" is to get plenty of rest. Sleep when the baby sleeps, eat and drink well, and have family and friends around to help and support you. If this "down" time lasts more than two weeks, be sure to discuss it with your physician or midwife.
Help at Home
New parents are often unaware of how much energy is needed to care for a newborn. The support and help of family and friends is important and should be encouraged.
If you do not breast-feed, your period will resume between six and twelve weeks after childbirth. Breast-feeding mothers will find that their cycle resumes after approximately four to five months.