By Sonia Verma
The post-partum period is just that—a period. A big mean one, too, like whoa.
Not only does your precious little new wrecking ball take with it your bladder control, muscle tone, and ability to sit down without a bum pillow, it also leaves the door open for blood to trickle steadily out of your body. And "trickle" is standing in for several potentially oozier, gushier words here, you understand.
Remember Vaginal Fallout/Post-Partum: The Musical? HelloFlo's clever, funny ad for their New Mom kit riffed good-naturedly on the lack of information/warning for women about those magical days immediately after the baby moves out.
Many women know to expect up to six weeks of intermittent or continuous vaginal bleeding.
And many don't.
So if you have a first-time-pregnant friend, do her a favour. Mention it in passing, so she knows to stock up on the heaviest-duty [heavy duty-est?] pads there are. There is a time and a place for tampons and menstrual cups, and this is not it. Especially not if she plans to stand up after sitting down for any length of time. Trust.
And while you're at it, here are a few other nice things you could get her:
There are lots of other interesting things you can warn her about—how breastfeeding causes uterine contractions. How it's important to stay hydrated and to snack constantly because breastfed babies are basically going to suck your every last vestige of moisture and energy right out of you. How coughing or sneezing can necessitate a change of unders.
Of course, it is all a giant ride into the unknown, so all the anecdata and friendly heads-ups in the world will help her only so much, but it can't hurt to know. Knowledge is power, after all. And new mums need all the power they can get.
For an actual professional's advice on what to expect once you're done expecting, here is a post-partum handout. Maternal care is on Page 4.
Sonia Verma is in no way affiliated with any dried-cranberry purveyors, though she would dearly like to be, so she could eat her way through their inventory.