bleeding, swelling, elephant skin & a corset

My experience

I read a little about what happened after birth so I knew to be prepared to bleed for up to six weeks but I had not come across advice about treating your stretched skin or what happens to all the extra fluid you retain in your body regardless if you have excessive swelling.  This is exactly what happened to me the first six weeks after birth and what I did.

Swelling – this took about two months to finally go back down to normal.  The only way you can get rid of the excess fluid/lymph is to pee or sweat it out.  I am not a sweaty person in the slightest but every night I could be covered in sweat, but not be hot or cold.

Bleeding – I only bleed heavily for the first week (multiple pad changes daily).  After that I still wore the larger pregnancy pads but changed them less often (morning & night).  I stopped bleeding completely after five weeks.

Skin – let’s face it you look like you have elephant skin where your bump has reduced and I got my linea negra during or after birth!

How I Coped

Regardless if you have a c-section or natural birth this initial six weeks is both mentally and physically challenging. I wanted my body back to normal but everything hurt.  If it wasn’t my c-section incision, ab separation, or general pain it was neck/back/shoulder pain from breastfeeding, sore nipples and swollen painful boobs.

No matter how you give birth these are items I recommend to anyone to make your life just a little bit easier and more comfortable.

What I used: 

CO-SLEEPER – this was a godsend – it allowed me to have access to my baby in the middle of the night without having to get out of bed which was helpful with night feeds and comforting her without moving her.  I ended up buying the Snuzpod instead of a Moses basket/bassinet even though it seemed more expensive up-front the package deal I got came with the multi-function crib, natural chemical free mattress, 100% cotton waterproof mattress protector, cotton jersey fitted sheet and a blanket.  I had it strapped to my bed with the flap down for three months and then another month with her sleeping in it (as above) in my room.

CORSET – I had already researched these when I was pregnant but decided to wait till after I gave birth to see which one I wanted.  I ended up buying the Bellefit Postpartum Corset . This was one of the best decisions I made.  It was easy to figure out what size I needed online with their fit calculator and it was relatively comfortable (I wore it September – February all day).  This helps give you more support and supposedly helps you to reduce your size more quickly.  It just makes you feel better as well because everything is tight and firm so you feel more back to normal and are able to wear clothes with more confidence.  If you might, will be, or already had a c-section I talk more about why this is so important for recovery.  You can also see what my scar looks like three months later and my stomach as well after wearing the corset for three months all day (I only gained 30lbs during pregnancy).  While everyone’s body is different I do believe wearing it helped my ab separation, my uterus to contract, and my skin to be compressed.  Maybe I would look the same without wearing it three months later but I’d never give birth without wearing one again.

PREGNANCY PILLOW– I bought the widgey plus pregnancy & sleep pillow while I was pregnant and it was so comfortable that I slept with it after I gave birth as well. I also found it very useful for breastfeeding in bed at night. It was easier to use and better than my Boppy because it was bigger and more flexible.  After I stopped nursing at night I still use it to surround my baby in her crib so she feels more contained (like a faux swaddle) it eliminated her startle reflex from waking her up in her sleep when she was younger.

PADS – while I was pregnant I bought two Boots maternity pad packs and one pack of the Boots maternity slim.  I ended up running out and should have bought 3 packs of the slimlines instead of one and 2 of the larger pads – this is the amount I went through in five weeks of bleeding.

TOWEL– I slept on a bath towel every night to absorb all the sweat from all of my swelling and milk if I leaked – I could wake up soaked from all the fluid I was sweating out!  It was also much easier than needing to change the sheets almost daily as it’s easier to wash a towel every day if you need to.


How I try to heal my bump skin  Stretch Marks Are Not All Created Equal  

 If you had a c-section or just want to know in case you might have one read How to Survive The Critical Six Weeks After a C-Section.

Let me know what you think about my experience and if it was helpful or tell me yours!


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