8 Gross & Horrible Things About Postpartum Recovery That You Don't Know

by Lauren Schumacker

The vast majority of women, even those who've never previously been pregnant or given birth, are well-aware of the horrors of pregnancy and childbirth, but people don't talk as much about the horrors awaiting new moms right after they've given birth, while they're trying to recover from, you know, pushing a baby out of their body (or major surgery). There are all kinds of gross and horrible things about recovering from pregnancy that no one ever tells you about and that you, more likely than not, don't even know they exist until you go through them yourself.

As if the exhaustion and overwhelming responsibility of having to care for a brand-new tiny person wasn't enough, there's also an awful lot going on with you that you need to somehow handle. You thought you'd seen all the weird and gross things that could happen to your body while you were pregnant, or at least while you were actually giving birth, but there's even more to come. Sure, you're grossed out, in pain, and adjusting to a new family dynamic, but the good news is, you have a new baby to snuggle up with during all of this — and, for the most part, it's not going to last forever.


You'll Need Pads

If you're not actually getting ready to give birth, you might not think all that much about the nitty gritty of what you'll need after you give birth, nor what might still be going on with a woman's postpartum body. As writer Carla Wiking wrote in a post for, you'll still be dealing with blood, and a lot of it, for awhile after giving birth. Stock up on the pads because you're going to need them.


And Frozen Pads

So, here's the deal, there was a lot of, shall we say, trauma, done to your nether regions if you gave birth vaginally and if you're breastfeeding, your boobs might hurt a lot, too. Making ice packs out of pads can help make you more comfortable, as countless new moms can attest.


Pooping Is... Painful

Postpartum pooping is not a walk in the park. As writer Meredith Bland wrote in a post for Scary Mommy, it's excruciating and a bit unnerving to go to the bathroom after giving birth, especially if you're dealing with constipation from pain medications or stitches down there. Take the stool softeners, but make sure you follow your healthcare provider's directions. You don't want to make things worse.


Your Periods Might Get Bloodier

You'd had periods before you got pregnant and you thought you had them all figured out, right? Well, you might be surprised to discover that after you give birth, things can change. One mom told Parents that tampons really weren't that effective after giving birth. You might have to switch up your typical period plan of action post-baby.


Other Things Will Also Come Out Of Your Body

It's not just blood that'll leave your body post-baby (whether you give birth vaginally or via C-section). Lochia, a mixture of blood and other things, will leave your body, as well. Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a gynecologist and the author of V is For Vagina told Redbook that a slight odor is normal, but that if it's really bad you should make an appointment with your doctor to ensure that you don't have an infection.


Cuts And Tears All Over The Place

Bowel movements are bad, but peeing is sometimes not a whole lot better. In a post for Babble, writer Lauren Hartmann wrote that while some women get hemorrhoids after giving birth (or during pregnancy), the cuts and tears that you can get down there can make things equally painful and uncomfortable. Be prepared.


You Might Get A Bit Stinky

Many new moms find that they don't have a lot of time, effort, or energy for showers once they get home and are more focused on taking care of the baby and recovering. That alone can cause you to develop a bit of a funk, but there are also other factors that can make you stink. In her previously-mentioned post for Babble, Hartmann wrote that hormones made her stinky after she gave birth. Make sure your deodorant is handy.


You'll Probably Get All Kinds Of Sweaty

Not only can those postpartum hormones make you a little more fragrant, they can also make you sweat. In a post for Hello Giggles, writer Jill Layton wrote that after giving birth to her baby girl, she experienced serious night sweating. No glistening here, full-on sweat. Luckily, unlike the presence of your new little bundle, it's only temporary.

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