What's Up with your Post-Baby Body?
From hair loss to soreness down there, we help you handle 7 common new-mom complaints. Plus our amazing fat-blasting ab workout.
3. Cesarean-Section Pain
Why it happens A C-section is major surgery that involves cutting through several layers of tissue in the abdomen and spreading the abdominal muscles apart.
Feel-better advice Take your prescribed pain medication as directed at the first sign of discomfort--it's safe, even if you're nursing. "It is so much easier to prevent pain than it is to catch up with it," explains Chang. Minimizing discomfort also will encourage moving about, which can reduce your risk for developing blood clots and relieve post-surgery gas pains.
To get out of bed during the first couple of weeks: Place your legs over the edge, allowing gravity to help out; wait a few seconds, then use your arms to push yourself up. (You'll become familiar with this technique in your third trimester.) While the incision heals, keep it clean and dry, and report any bleeding, swelling or unusual redness to your doctor.
Why it happens The stress of pregnancy and pushing during delivery can weaken the pelvic floor, allowing urine to "leak."
Feel-better advice Realize that incontinence is common, but also that it often resolves within six months to a year. If you leak a lot of urine, wear a pad. Avoid caffeine, and to keep your bladder from getting too full, head to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge to go.
Kegel exercises can help prevent incontinence by strengthening the pelvic floor, notes certified Pilates instructor Jennifer Gianni, creator of the Fusion Pilates Post-Pregnancy & C-section Recovery DVD (fusionpilates.com). Contract the muscles around the vagina as if you're stopping the flow of urine; hold for 10 seconds, breathing normally, then slowly release. Aim to do 10 to 20 Kegels a few times a day. If incontinence lasts several months, consult your doctor.
Why it happens C-section surgery can temporarily slow the bowels, as can the use of narcotic pain relievers such as Vicodin. Women who've had vaginal deliveries may become constipated if they hold back during bowel movements out of fear of pain.
Feel-better advice Eat a fiber-rich diet and drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to keep bowel movements regular. You also can ask your OB-GYN to prescribe stool softeners.