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7 Things No One Tells You After Giving Birth

Updated: Jul 7, 2022

Pregnancy and birth are a miraculous time. That doesn’t mean things are all unicorns and rainbows. Miracles can be, so messy. Unless you’ve got a really close friend who’s been through birth before (and isn’t embarrassed to talk to you about the gross stuff), here are 7 things no one tells you about after giving birth.

7. You’ll bleed...a lot

You know how you’ve been living the “period free” life for the past 9 months? Well, I see it as 9 months worth of menstrual blood jammed into a delightful 2-6 week time period. And it makes sense - you’re essentially healing up a dinner plate-size wound in your uterus from where your placenta was attached. Steal…*cough*, I mean pack away as many ice pack pads from the hospital as possible. Oh, and invest in some Dermablast.

And please - I’m gonna get real for a minute - keep an eye on the size of your blood clots. I never realized that postpartum hemorrhaging was something to worry about in this day and age until it happened to me.

6. Fundal Massage

Don’t let the word “massage” fool you. A fundal massage is when a nurse comes in when you least expect it, several times a day, and basically punches your uterus. They are making sure your uterus is beginning to shrink back down to pre-baby size, which, okay, great, thanks but can we skip the false pretenses with the word “massage”?

5. Speaking of “Shrinking your uterus”…

Contractions don’t end once the baby is delivered. They’ll keep going so you can deliver the placenta and even continue after that. Most surprisingly (at least to me), was that they happen whenever you breastfeed to continue shrinking your uterus. Hormones are weird. And breastfeeding can be uncomfortable - which leads me to my next point.

4. Your nipples will hurt

If you make the decision to breastfeed, prepare for discomfort in yet another one of your most sensitive places. I know most lactation consultants will say “if it hurts, it means you’re doing it wrong.” While this may very well be the case, even with the most perfect latch, your nipples are going to experience a level of friction they probably never have before (hey, I won’t judge your private life). It’ll get better. It’s like building up a callus...I’m not sure if that statement is reassuring, but I’m sticking with it.

3. Pooping

Your first postpartum poop is scary. Just take the stool softeners whenever the nurses offer. Not much else to say about that one...

2. Sneezing/Coughing

Personally, I was prepared for the poop - I had some great friends who warned me. What no one told me about was sneezing. That first sneeze snuck up on me - I had no time to prepare! All of the sudden - “AH CHOO” - and my entire stomach ballooned out and it felt like all my insides were trying to exit out my belly button.

When you cough or sneeze, your transverse abdominals are supposed to contract (along with your pelvic floor) to increase intra-abdominal pressure to force that sneeze/cough out. After slowly being stretched for the past plus or minus 40 weeks, nothing’s really able to respond like it should...yet. No worries, it’ll come back eventually. Which leads me to my final point.

1. You CAN start reconnecting to your core within hours of giving birth

Please don’t interpret what I’m about to say as “You gotta bounce back from that baby! Erase all signs that you were pregnant!” I’m simply drawing from what all good PTs and rehab specialists know - to keep muscles from atrophying, they benefit from movement ASAP. It’s about function.

The ACOG recommends returning to exercise 6 weeks after giving birth, 8 weeks for C-sections. But think of this: You break your ankle and require surgery to fix it. Your cast comes off and then you do nothing for 6 weeks. Now go start running again! Crazy, right?

There is SO MUCH you can do in those 6 weeks.

I’m not talking about “doing your exercises”; I’m talking about rebuilding your connection.

I’m not talking about what you look like; I’m talking about how you function and feel.

Because you probably do want to get back to exercise at some point. And you can’t strengthen a muscle your brain isn’t using.

“Alright, Katie, so what CAN I do while waiting for the 6-week ‘all clear’?”

I’m so glad you asked. As I mentioned above, you’ve got to rebuild the connection between your brain and the muscles of your deepest core and pelvic floor. The ticket to that is breath, and connecting that breath to purposeful movements.

I have a plan that will help you do just there. Check out my Done For You Postpartum Plan - the first step to bounce FORWARD after having your baby. Because who wants to go backwards?

And when you opt into the plan, you’ll also be the first to hear when Core Restore opens its doors for enrollment!

Fair warning - when you're trying to reconnect to your core canister muscles, you may not feel much right away, and that’s okay. Depending on how connected you were to your core/pelvic floor before pregnancy will affect your connection after. And I always, ALWAYS recommend a new mom go and see a pelvic floor PT. We’ve got a few great ones over at The Restoration Space if you are local to the Lehigh Valley, PA.

Best of luck with your delivery and recovery, mama, and don’t forget to grab your copy of my Done For You Postpartum Plan - your first step towards functioning and feeling better after baby.

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