When you think about giving birth to your baby, you're probably met with a lot of emotions. You're excited, you're nervous, and you're terrified. But a lot of those feelings are simply because you have no idea what to expect, you're unsure of your birth plan, or you're wondering what happens to your body right after you give birth.
That last one is a biggie. I mean, you've spent the last nine plus months reading up on exactly what's happening in your body while you're pregnant. You've read up on estrogen and progesterone, you know what your baby looks like and which body part is developing each week — why let that interest in science and your body end with delivery?
You already know your body is amazing, but you may be surprised at some of the things that happen to your body right after you give birth. It's like your entire physiology flips into overdrive in order to get your body back into pre-pregnancy shape, but is still working hard to provide nourishment for your baby, help the two of you bond, and prepare you for motherhood. Amazing, right?
So when you give birth to your little bundle of joy, take a moment to really soak in motherhood and then think about all of the things happening in your body right at that moment. You'll be amazed, blown away, and possibly even a little terrified of all the other things your body can do that you have no idea about.
1. Your Fluid Moves Into Your Face & Hands
I know, you would think you would lose all of that retained fluid when you give birth, but Parents noted that sometimes the opposite can happen. As you're pushing your baby out, your body actually pushes that fluid into your face and extremities, making you swollen. Some moms who have C-sections may experience swelling thanks to all of that IV fluid coursing through them, too.
2. Your Uterus Starts Shrinking & Tightening
According to Baby Center, your uterus is about 15 times heavier with a capacity at least 500 times greater than before you ever became pregnant, even after your baby is out. Naturally, your uterus can't stay this size, so right after you deliver, contractions begin to make your uterus shrink and tighten back to its normal size. It takes a few weeks for the process to finish, but you may feel those contractions soon after giving birth, which are also known as afterbirth pains.
3. Your Breasts Prepare To Make Breast Milk
Your breasts may have been producing colostrum while you were pregnant, but What to Expect noted that as soon as you deliver your baby, your breasts begin preparing to make breast milk. Prolactin, the milk-producing hormone, surges through and your breasts begin to grow bigger and feel even more sensitive. Your milk won't actually come in for another couple of days, but in those moments after giving birth, your body's already working overtime to make that precious liquid gold.
4. Your Body Will Shake
If you've ever heard of the post-delivery shakes, this one's for you. Fit Pregnancy noted that because pregnancy and delivery are full of hormones, all of that shifting around can actually send your body into a physical shock. It's normal, but it can result in full-on body shaking and shivering right after delivery.
5. You Start Shedding A Lot Of Blood
Although an excessive amount of blood loss can be dangerous, your body is working to get rid of blood as soon as you've delivered your baby. According to Baby Center, as the placenta separates from the uterus, you begin losing blood and it can continue for a while after giving your birth. In fact, your body's blood amount increases by almost 50 percent when you're pregnant, so it's not a big deal to lose some of it.
6. Your Progesterone Level Drops
Your hormones are already going crazy, but after giving birth, your progesterone levels drop significantly so your body can produce breast milk. According to Postpartum Progress, this drop can lead feeling sad or anxious — the baby blues. Because progesterone is needed to maintain the brain chemistry moms need to feel emotionally healthy and well, some moms may experience sadness and anxiety following their child's birth. Thanks, hormones.
7. You Become Utterly Exhausted
I mean, this is a no-brainer, right? But you're not just tired because of the work of giving birth. The March of Dimes noted that the loss of blood during labor can make you feel totally knackered.