Information on what dads and partners should expect during pregnancy is readily available but similar information on the postpartum period is much more difficult to find.  As a result, many dads and partners are left clueless about what mom needs during the postpartum period, what is normal, or the warning signs that she may be having a more serious issue.  In today’s blog, we will be discussing partner postpartum expectations.

Physical Recovery

Regardless of how your baby is delivered, there will be some need for physical recovery for mom after birth. In terms of partner postpartum expectations, you can be assured that she will have sore muscles because the laboring process alone forces many of her muscles to contract and relax many times over 18 or more hours. This type of exertion is sure to lead to fatigue and soreness of muscles. She will need plenty of rest to give her body time to recover. If mom delivered vaginally, it is possible that she may have some tearing or even stitches from the birthing process that will need heal before she can get back to normal. If she had a C-section delivery, she will likely have difficulty doing simple day to day tasks as her stomach muscles heal from the surgery. The bottom line here is that as a dad or partner, mom will need your help during the postpartum period.

Emotional Recovery

It is not uncommon for new mom’s to experience a wide variety of emotions or to have their emotions swing wildly in the postpartum period.  Once the baby has been delivered, mom’s body begins the process of recovering from pregnancy.  Part of this process is that her hormone levels change dramatically because many of those hormones are necessary for the growth and development of a healthy baby.  The downside is that those hormones also have the ability to affect mom’s mood, her memory, even her sleep patterns.  You couple this fact with the traumatic nature of the birthing process and the sleep deprivation that is common in the first few weeks after birth and you have a complicated emotional reality for mom. The best way to manage your partner postpartum expectations is to educate yourself on the changes mom’s body goes through after delivery and how they affect her emotionally. Remember that she she will need your support, compassion, and understanding during this time.

Baby Blues

Baby Blues is a very common experience for many postpartum mothers. Baby Blues occurs in the first two weeks following delivery and Mom may experience some sadness. The symptoms of Baby Blues include sadness, weepiness, mood swings, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, crying and reduced concentration. Mom should feel quite a bit better after a nap, bath or rest. If these symptoms persist beyond two weeks following postpartum, Mom should be evaluated by her doctor or a therapist for Postpartum Depression. It’s important to note that suffering from postpartum depression doesn’t mean she is a bad mother or that she will never be the same. It’s also important to assess the situation and get Mom help as soon as possible. Postpartum depression is very treatable and Moms often feel better after just a few sessions with a therapist or a few weeks on medication if that is the route the doctor and your family feels is best. If Mom is experiencing Baby Blues, offer to take the baby for a while so she can nap, encourage her to take a relaxing shower or bath, and remember that she can’t help these feelings.