7 Common Postpartum Pains

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Having a baby is an amazing experience, but it takes time for your body to fully recover. Use the following advice for dealing with aches and pains after baby arrives.

Recovery pain
Expect swelling and discomfort after a vaginal delivery. To help ease the pain, clean the area with warm water using a Peri bottle or by taking Sitz bath, and use pain medication and ice packs as instructed by your physician. If you have a C-section, follow the doctor's orders and take it easy – no heavy lifting. Seek pain relief through doctor-recommended medications. Drink plenty of fluids to help prevent constipation and take stool softeners if recommended by your doctor.

It is normal to experience period-like bleeding for several weeks after having a baby. Expect a bright red, heavy flow of blood for the first few days.

Breast discomfort
As your milk comes in, increased breast size, tenderness and firmness are normal. To help reduce the pain and soreness, apply ice packs following feedings. Wear a supportive bra even if you are not breastfeeding.

Use Witch Hazel wipes, Tucks Medicated Pads and Preparation H©. Soak in a warm bath. Increase fluids and the amount of fiber in your diet.

Feet and ankles may continue to be swollen. Increase fluids.

Don't expect your uterus to shrink overnight. According to mayoclinic.org, you may feel small contractions during the first few days after delivery as your uterus decreases to its normal size post-pregnancy.

Baby blues
Don't be surprised if you experience mood swings, anxiety, sadness, irritability and crying as your hormones adjust post-pregnancy. Exercise, meditate, and reach out to friends and family for support. If symptoms become more intense or you feel you might have postpartum depression, contact your physician for help.

Michele Jonczak, a freelance writer from Raleigh, is a mother of two boys, ages 3 and 5, and a girl, who is 18 months old.

SEE ALSO: 13 Pains of Pregnancy and How to Deal