1. Sex Drive: Well the hormone of love is the hormone of breast milk too: this hormone is called oxytocin. So any decreased libido you felt in late pregnancy, it should be coming back because of the post partum surges in oxytocin! But, if not, a quick check on your other hormone levels, including thyroid are in order. And remember, sex is better if you stay as rested as possible.
2. Bladder capacity: while the baby seemed to crowd out the bladder and made trips to the bathroom so frequent late in pregnancy, this too should return to normal. In pregnancy you literally have almost half again the amount of fluid in your blood stream and that, in and of itself, made your pregnant self run to the bathroom more often. If this doesn’t correct: get your gyno to check your pelvic floor. Emsella treatments are FDA cleared for overactive bladder, and safe very early post partum and available at Women’s Health Practice. .
3. Breast size and shape: well, many women experience pregnancy related breast changes, and these may or may not return to normal, this is not necessarily ‘correctable’ but upper body exercises do keep the chest strong, so if you need fitness guidance, we can see you for that.
4. Weight often will return to your prepregnancy state at about the 6 or 8 week mark. The best way to get to a healthy weight is to breast feed, and eat a stable nutrient dense diet. If not, come for consultation on how to manage nutrition.
Most obstetricians, according to the physicians, Dr. Alison Stuebe and Dr. Sarah Verbiest of UNC have recognized there seems to then be a critical time of adjustment for mom that is not approached with the same vigor and attention we approach pregnancy care. The Childbirth Connection has been tracking what new moms experience, and most do experience some sort of individual health concerns. Even concerns that seem more mundane can still cause significant stress for new moms including acne, varicose veins, hair loss, bladder issues, starting to have sex, bowel issues, and breast changes. Most of these sorts of concerns, in the past, have been waved as something a woman should accept without question. But the Childbirth connection found that weight control, sleep loss, low libido, fatigue and back ache all contributed to the fact that 43% of new moms report stress.
The question is, how to evolve post partum care so that we maximize health for mom and baby both. It is unclear as to whether it is education, resources, focus on resolution of health issues such as hypertension or diabetes, or better treatments for specific sexual issues that occur post partum that may be the best strategies. Some are proposing we train post partum dula support. It is not just eating well, getting some babysitter time, and getting to the gym that is the solution. Some women have not followed up with their gynos at all, after they deliver and don’t necessarily express what is bothering them. As with other health concerns, make a list, do some research on your own, but after those basic steps: come in to talk. That is the best way to set up for those six weeks after.