Saturday, June 06, 2015

Post Partum Recovery – A Comparison

I have now given birth to two little boys and each birth and recovery has been different. Before having kids I think I just assumed that there was a "normal" way to give birth (and recover), but like snowflakes, each experience is different.

With Jack, I gave birth by pushing him out of my body after 20 hours. That experience was not without complications and almost resulted in a c-section. With Isaac, I had an emergency c-section 3 hours after being induced. I thought I would do a comparison of my two different experiences, especially the recovery part. If you want to read about the different birth experiences, here are the links: Jack's Birth  |  Isaac's Birth

Pregnancy Exercise I worked out 4x a week (yoga and kickboxing) up until the day I went into labor.

Weight Gain Gained approximately 25 pounds.

Pregnancy – Easy. No morning sickness or complications beyond a risk for blood clots.

Labor – My water broke at 40 weeks and I gave birth vaginally (18.5 hours of labor and 1.5 hours of pushing).

Post Partum – Went home after 3 days in the hospital.

Pain – Had a lot of vaginal pain post birth (lots of ice packs, sits baths, and ibuprofen). This lasted a couple of weeks.

Restrictions – I had no post partum restrictions regarding picking up heavy items or driving.

Hunger – Starving all of the time... I ate an entire 9x13 chocolate sheet cake in two days when I first came home from the hospital.

Nursing – Milk came in a couple of days after getting home from the hospital. Struggled with oversupply. Nursed for 15 months.

Post Partum Exercise Started working out (yoga at first) at 4 weeks post partum, followed by Zumba and then Kickboxing in the following weeks. Worked out off an and on post partum, but didn't have a good child care option at the time.

Bladder – Struggled with a weak bladder after giving birth. It took over 12 months to regain bladder control (with the help of exercise I regained control when Jack was about 18 months old).

Energy Levels – Felt very tired for the 6 weeks following giving birth.

Weight Loss – back to pre-pregnancy weight 6 weeks post partum.

Pregnancy Exercise I worked out 3x a week (weight lifting and boot camp) up until the day before I was induced. I did strength training this time and was a lot stronger throughout my pregnancy. I am so grateful for the strength training because having strong arms and legs made a huge difference in my recovery from a c-section. You have no idea how much you have to use your arms to maneuver yourself when you can't use your core muscles for 4 weeks straight! Also, I think the weight training contributed to higher metabolism this time around.

Weight Gain Gained approximately 25 pounds. 

Pregnancy – Morning sickness, pre-term labor at 30 weeks, Polyhydramnios and risk for blood clots.

Labor – Was induced at 40 weeks and had an emergency c-section after 3 hours of labor (my water broke within 30 minutes of being induced).

Post Partum – Went home after 3 days in the hospital. 

Pain – Experienced zero vaginal pain this time. Instead had tightness from my stitches. Took percocet a couple of times a day for 5 days post surgery.

Restrictions – For the first 3 weeks post surgery, I was only allowed to pick up things that weighed the same as Isaac (approximately 7 pounds). Also, no driving for 3 weeks.

Hunger – Starving all of the time... ate dessert every night for the first 3 weeks I was home after giving birth.

Nursing – Milk came in strong the day I came home from the hospital. Struggling with oversupply of milk again.

Post Partum Exercise Was given the OK to start a modified workout regiment at 3 weeks post partum. Went back to boot camp at 4 weeks post partum and did the workouts with Isaac strapped to my chest in an Ergo carrier. At 6 weeks post partum, was able to fully do boot camp classes again.

Bladder – Had ZERO issues with bladder control during pregnancy and post surgery (at 6 weeks I can do full jumping jacks without bladder issues). One odd thing I didn't expect was that for the first 4 weeks I couldn't tell when my bladder was full. The internet says this is normal, so I just had to make myself go to the bathroom every time I changed a diaper. The sensation has since returned.

Energy Levels – Was told to take Iron on a daily basis to compensate for the blood loss during my c-section. When I miss taking an Iron supplement I find that I am completely exhausted (with Jack no one suggested I take iron to help with energy levels, and I didn't know to ask for help with this).

Weight Loss – back to pre-pregnancy weight 3 weeks post partum.

7 Weeks Post Partum (Isaac)

With both pregnancies I stayed very fit, but with both births I experienced difficulties. I am a little disappointed that I didn't get to experience a birth without complications, but I think the fact that I was fit helped me to get through those complications (especially with Jack's delivery).

Meanwhile recovery from both pregnancies, while different, was relatively easy. I attribute bouncing back and good metabolism to remaining fit during my pregnancies and working out as soon as I felt able. I often surprised myself with how much I was able to do during and immediately after pregnancy. I know this isn't for everyone, but it is what worked for me. Exercise is one of the few things that allowed me to feel normal during and after pregnancy. 

The best news is that I am now officially past the 6 week post partum time period and my doctor has cleared me to return to life as usual and I don't have to give myself any more shots!!!

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